A 22-year-old student and activist Elin Ersson went viral after stopping a Turkish airlines flight.
She wanted to rebel against the deportation of a 52-year-old Afghan asylum seeker.
The flight was about to depart and travel to Istanbul, Turkey, from Sweden. Ersson was in front of the Afghan man when she noticed that he was an asylum seeker being deported to Kabul after they landed on Turkey.
The student decided to take matters into her own hands by standing up. She also recorded the incident and refused to take a seat unless they let the Afghan man get off of the plane. She knew that the plane couldn’t take off until she sits down.
In the video she recorded, Ersson said at one point: “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.”
She added: “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.”
Some passengers on board supported her actions while others expressed worries about the way she’s handling the situation.
When one of the passengers tried to get her phone, the student said: “What is more important, a life, or your time? I want him to get off the plane because he is not safe in Afghanistan. I am trying to change my country’s rules, I don’t like them. It is not right to send people to hell.”
When she had left the plane, many passengers gave the woman a standing ovation for her practical activism and bravery. She was also branded a ‘hero.’
The New York Times reported that Ersson was indicted in Gothenburg district court on October 19. She stands accused of violating aviation act of Sweden by standing when the aircraft was about to depart. If convicted, the student faces up to 6 months in jail and fines.
Her lawyer, Thomas Fridh, said his client is innocent. “During the entire action she was prepared to follow the orders of the captain on board, and she left the plane as soon as the pilot decided that she should do so.”
Even though she was being criminally charged, Ersson wanted to continue to fight the deportation policies. She said: “To send someone there [to Afghanistan] is in practice sending someone to their death.
As someone who is against the death penalty, it is only right to stand up for those who are faced with being deported to a land in war.”
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