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Swedish activist indicted for stopping a flight to prevent the deportation of Afghan asylum-seeker

An activist has been indicted by Swedish prosecutors for stopping a flight that was intended to carry an Afghan asylum-seeker back to his home country. (Image source: YouTube screencap)

A Swedish woman who stopped a flight in an attempt to prevent the deportation of an Afghan asylum-seeker has been indicted.

Elin Ersson recorded her July protest with her smartphone, and the attention she garnered led the authorities to seek action against her.

What are the details?

Ersson booked a July 23 flight from Sweden to Turkey for the sole purpose of boarding and stopping the plane from departing. Her intent was to stop a man from being deported back to his home country of Afghanistan.

After the activist's successful protest, Swedish authorities said the man — who had served two years in a Swedish prison for battery — would eventually be deported. Prosecutors also began investigating Ersson's actions, saying she could face charges for violating air traffic regulations.

The New York Times reported that on Friday, Swedish prosecutors issued an indictment saying that Ersson "had violated the Swedish aviation act by remaining standing when the plane was set to take off."

Prosecutor James von Reis told the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet that Errson violated the act "with the intention of preventing the plane from departing," and told the outlet JP that her actions "caused a lot of confusion, irritation and worry inside the plane. Some of the passengers were quite upset about this," according to the Times.

If convicted, Ersson could face fines or up to six month in prison.

Ersson's attorney, Thomas Fridh, defended his client's protest in an email to the Times, saying, "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."

Errson herself also stood by her actions, responded to the Times via email saying, "To send someone [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."

Fox News reported that the asylum-seeker was eventually deported.

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