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Swedish student prevents deportation of Afghan asylum seeker

A22-year-old Swedish student and activist, prevented a flight from taking off , in an act of protest against the deportation of an Afghan man from Sweden who was onboard the same flight.

Elin Ersson, who studies at the Gothenburg University of Sweden, says she bought a ticket for the explicit purpose of preventing the plane from flying to Kabul.

On the flight, Elinfilmed an emotional video on her phone, in which she says: “I am right now at the airplane and there is a person getting deported to Afghanistan, where there is war, and he is most likely to be killed. The people at the airplane are trying to take my phone while I am only filming myself, they push me and try to forcibly move me.

“What I am saying is that I am not going to sit down until this person is off the plane, because he will most likely get killed and the pilot has the right to say that he is not allowed to be on the plane, and as long as he is not on the plane, I will comply,” Ersson said in the video.

A flight attendant on the plane tried to take away her phone and someone shouted for her to sit down but Ersson refused. “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.

Ersson kept the Turkish airlines flight from Gothenburg in Sweden to Istanbul grounded until the 52-year-old Afghan manwas escorted off the plane. Ms. Ersson, the Afghan deportee and three security personnel then got off the plane.

However, Swedish authorities subsequently said the Afghan man was still slated for deportation, and he has since been sent back to Kabul. The Swedish authorities also claim the activist could face up to six months in prison for refusing to obey police orders.

The deported Afghan’s name is Ismail Khawari and Deutsche Welle interviewed him in Kabul after he was sent back.

Khawari said he did not know Elin Ersson but that he wanted to thank her for what she did.

Khawari said he had been living in Sweden for four years but was not able to speak Swedish. “I am sick and have psychiatric problems. I was mostly inside the home [asylum centre] that why I did not learn Swedish, usually doctors were visiting me at home,” he explained.

According to the Guardian, the Swedish migration board says that it is safe to return Afghan asylum seekers, whose claims have been rejected, to Afghanistan. .

Last year, the Swedish border police deported 12,500 people, with the rate of  deportations increasing this year. 

TMP – 15/08/2018