Student Faces Prison After Forcing Flight To Be Cancelled To Stop Afghan Man’s Deportation

October 22, 2018 | No Comments » | Topics: Story

As every air passenger knows, a plane cannot take off until all on board have taken their seats and buckled their belts. A young Swedish activist named Elin Ersson used that rule to keep a flight carrying an Afghan man who was reportededly being deported to Kabul from taking off from Gothenburg.

When the Swedish student discovered her fellow passenger was actually an asylum seeker who was due to be deported back to Kabul after landing in Istanbul, she decided to take action.

Taking out her phone, Elin took a 14-minute clip, which shows her refusing to take a seat, knowing the plane would be unable to take off if she remained standing.

Elin can be heard protesting:

"I don’t want a man’s life to be taken away just because you don’t want to miss your flight. I am not going to sit down until the person is off the plane."

In the footage, she stressed how the asylum seeker’s life would be in danger if he returned to his home country.

"I am doing what I can to save a person’s life. As long as a person is standing up the pilot cannot take off. All I want to do is stop the deportation and then I will comply with the rules here. This is all perfectly legal and I have not committed a crime."

The reaction of her fellow passengers was mixed, with some confronting the student and telling her to sit down and stop filming and others expressing their support. Reaction on social media was similarly divided with many hailing the student a “hero” but others criticizing the method of protest.

Eventually, Ersson was told that the man would be let off the plane and she was also removed by airport security. 

“All I want to do is stop the deportation and then I will comply with the rules here. This is all perfectly legal and I have not committed a crime,” Ersson said in the video.

Swedish Police confirmed to Fox News the man whose deportation Ms Ersson prevented had received a prison sentence in Sweden for assault. The police spokesman declined to go into more details about the crime the migrant has committed.

Months after the July 23 flight, Ersson was indicted in Gothenburg district court on Friday October 19, The New York Times reported.

She stands accused of violating Sweden’s aviation act by continuing to stand just as the plane was about to depart. If convicted, she faces up to six months in prison and fines.

Although her efforts saw the Afghan asylum seeker and the Swedish government officials set to accompany him to Kabul removed from the July 23 flight, he was eventually deported.