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Swedish woman who stopped Afghan man’s deportation on plane faces prosecution

Elin Ersson, a Swedish woman who captured international attention this summer after she successfully halted an Afghan man’s deportation by refusing to sit down on an airplane, is reportedly facing prosecution. 

The Guardian reported Friday that Swedish prosecutors announced Ersson will be prosecuted at Gothenburg district court “for crimes against the aviation law.”

The move follows a July incident in which the 21-year-old university student live-streamed herself refusing requests to sit down on a plane that was carrying a 52-year-old Afghan asylum seeker. 

{mosads}Ersson had bought a ticket for the flight after learning of the man’s scheduled deportation, The Washington Post reported at the time. She later stood in the plane’s aisle in protest, in an attempt to prevent the aircraft from taking off and to delay the man’s deportation.

A video of Ersson’s one-woman protest has been viewed over 13 million times. 

According to The Guardian, Ersson is now facing a fine and up to six months in jail for refusing to comply with the plane crew’s and captain’s repeated requests to sit.

Ersson reportedly entered the plane with the photograph of a young Afghan who she had hoped to prevent from being deported. However, after boarding the plane, she saw that he was not on board. Ersson then decided to protest the deportation of another Afghan on the flight, instead, The Guardian reported. It was later reported that he had a criminal record.

“I did it as an individual, activist and fellow human being,” Ersson said in a statement seen by the publication.

“My point of departure is that he is human and deserves to live,” she continued. “Sweden we do not have the death penalty, but deportation to a country at war can mean death. If someone has committed a crime, they may be jailed and serve their sentence in Sweden.”

Since Ersson’s protest, both men have reportedly been deported.

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