A courageous Swedish student cleverly used a loophole in flight regulations to prevent a man’s deportation to Afghanistan. Elin Errson, who is a student at Gothenburg University, prevented a plane at Sweden’s Gothenburg airport from taking off for Istanbul by remaining standing. As per flight regulations, a flight cannot take off until everyone is seated and has strapped on their seat belts.
The student activist remained standing to protest against the deportation of a 52-year-old Afghan asylum-seeker to Kabul, who was on the flight, stating that she wouldn’t sit down till he was taken off the aircraft. Errson live-streamed her protest, speaking in English (video above).
“I am doing what I can to save a person’s life,” she said. “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.”
According to the The Guardian, Errson bought a ticket for the flight after she and other asylum activists found out that an Afghan was due to be deported on it. “I don’t want a man’s life to be taken away just because you don’t want to miss your flight,” she declared.
Some of the passengers supported her action, and ultimately the Afghan asylum-seeker was escorted off the plane by the authorities, followed by a teary Errson.
Errson has received mixed reaction on social media. Many have applauded her for her courageous action and for taking a stand. However, critics called her selfish for making a decision on the country’s deportation policy, while some called her foolish for assuming that the man would die simply because he was going to Afghanistan.
Deutsche Welle reported that the Afghan asylum-seeker was in custody and would be deported at a later date. Errson, meanwhile, could face fines or even up to six months in jail, which is applicable to passengers who refuse to obey a pilot’s orders while on board a plane.