Heroic student risks jail trying to stop man's deportation by plane

A Swedish student, Elin Ersson, protested the deportation of a man to Afghanistan, risking a jail term when she refused to allow the flight they had both boarded from taking off. 

The 22-year-old student activist from Gothenburg University in Sweden bought a ticket from Gothenburg to Istanbul, where the man was due to change flights and head on to Kabul.

She streamed an emotional fourteen-minute video, live on Facebook on July 25, 2018, from Goteborg Landvetter Airport. The video was later uploaded to YouTube by a user.

In the video, she can be seen claiming that the man being deported would “most likely get killed” if he was sent back to Afghanistan. 

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Ersson refused to take her seat until the Afghan man was let off the plane, knowing fully well that the plane would not be ready for take-off while she remained standing. 

The cabin crew members and other passengers ask her to take her seat at the beginning of the clip but she insists that she will not sit down until the man is taken out of the plane.

“I am not going to sit down until the person is off the plane,” she said when the others requested her to be seated.

At one point in the video, one passenger tries to snatch her phone away as he wanted to get the flight moving. She questions him about the importance he was giving to his time over a person's life. By the end of her video though, some of the travelers gave her a round of applause. 

The man was ultimately let off the plane and his deportation was averted. Swedavia, Swedish national company which owns and operates many airports, including Landvetter, where this protest took place, confirmed that the Afghan asylum seeker, Ersson, and three security personnel all left the plane, reported Daily Mail.

The Swedish authorities, however, have said that the Afghan man will still be deported at a later date, which is not confirmed yet.

The authorities also claim that the activist could face a jail term of up to six months as she disobeyed the orders of the police. 

However, Errson is being praised for her brave act on social networking sites such as Twitter. Some users have called her a 'hero.' One of them thanked her for taking a stand and for being courageous and compassionate. 

Errson's protest brings to light the internal resistance to the Swedish Government's tough line on immigration.

The far-right Sweden Democrats are opposed to asylum and immigration and are presently doing well in the polls and the government feels it has to be rigid on these issues before the elections in September, according to Daily Mail.

Sweden had temporarily halted deportations to Afghanistan when Kabul was hit by a Taliban attack in January which killed more than hundred people, but these have since resumed and the government considers the country safe for failed asylum seekers.

Sweden has now made its conditions on accepting refugees tougher and there has been a drop in the number of asylum applications.

Errson is one of the many Swedes who thinks that their government's method has been too severe. 

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