Swedish Student Stops A Man From Being Deported
22-year-old Elin Ersson risked being arrested on a flight from Gothenburg to Istanbul when she refused to sit down to save an Afghan man who was being deported.
After learning that the 52-year-old man sitting behind her was being sent back to Afghanistan on a connecting flight from Istanbul, Ersson refused to sit down; knowing the pilot would not be able to take off with a passenger standing. Ersson livestreamed the incident on Facebook, claiming that the man would “most likely get killed” if he is forced to go back to Afghanistan.
During then 14-minute video, Ersson was urged to sit down by fellow passengers and crew members, but held her ground. During the livestream, Ersson said;
“I am not going to sit down until the person is off the plane. 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.”
Thanks to her actions, the Afghan man was taken off the plane, however may still be deported on a later flight. Ulf Mossberg from the Swedish Prison and Probation Services said;
“Asylum cases are decided by the immigration office. If they make a decision that someone will be deported they hand the person to the national border police. The police then can ask us to perform that transportation.
What happened on this flight was that the pilot of the plane decided that our personnel and the Afghan man were not allowed to fulfil the flight.”
Speaking about the incident, Errson said;
“[the man] taken from the facility he was staying in and transported from Gothenburg to Stockholm. There he was put on a flight and was deported with another person. It took him 48 hours to reach his family.
All the way to the airport he had no idea what was going on and he had no possibility to call his family or lawyer. This is how deportations in Sweden work.”
Despite plenty of passengers trying to get Ersson to sit down, with one man even attempting to take the phone out of her hands, Ersson continued standing and was met with other passengers standing as well. After ten minutes into the livestream, a crew member approached Ersson and told her that the asylum seeker and herself are being let off the plane “we’ve opened the door. Both you and the passenger will not fly,” he said.
Ersson’s video has received more than 4 million views from people around the world, as well as receiving more than 114,000 reactions.