Swedish Woman Averts Afghan Man’s Deportation By Protesting On-Flight

“It’s not my fault that he getting deported but I’m trying to stop it. I’m trying my country’s rules. I don’t like them,” she told a passenger.


A Swedish student succeeded in averting an Afghan man’s deportation after she protested and began filming from inside the airplane, hence delaying take off.

22-year-old Elin Ersson studies at Gothenburg University in Sweden and is a student activist. She was all set to fly from Sweden to Istanbul, Turkey, when she noticed that a man behind her was about to be deported to Afghanistan.

The man, who remains unidentified, was due to catch a connecting flight to Kabul, Afghanistan, from Istanbul. When Ersson became aware of the deportation, she decided to record a video from inside the aircraft.

In an emotional 14-minute Facebook video, Ersson protested against the deportation and demanded the man be removed from the plane.

At the beginning of the video, flight attendants seemingly attempted to grab her mobile phone and interrupt the recording but the student was determined and walked away from her seat.

She then explained the incident and said she was against the deportation because the man would most likely “get killed” once he lands in Afghanistan. The student then said she will not sit down on her seat until and unless the man is off the plane.

A flight attendant then came up to her and asked her to turn off her mobile phone which she refused to do. The cabin crew member then told Ersson that the pilot said a decision on the man’s deportation will be taken once the plane touches down in Istanbul.

He then asked her to turn off the recording but Ersson said she will do what she can to save the man’s life. She then said she had not committed a crime and everything that she is doing is completely legal.

The student then turned to fellow passengers and told them why she was standing up against the deportation. She urged others to stand with her and protest so that the pilot would take an action.

She then told a passenger that she is sorry that he is more concerned of missing his flight than worrying about a person’s life. A flight attendant again interrupted her and said they were not authorized to make a decision because the man is with police officers.

However, Ersson maintained her stance and said the pilot has the authority to make a decision.

“It’s not my fault that he getting deported but I’m trying to stop it. I’m trying my country’s rules. I don’t like them,” she told a passenger.

A Turkish passenger on the flight then supported Ersson and said he is with her in her protest. As more and more people stood with the student, authorities were forced to take an action.

A flight attendant then informed Ersson that she and that the Afghan man won’t fly on the plane. She then demanded she wanted to see and make sure if the man was off the plane or not.  

Finally, the man was removed from the plane and the passengers applauded Ersson for tirelessly protesting for the man. The student then burst into tears.

Ersson then said security officers were coming on the plane for her and she had no idea what they will do. Ersson said she will comply with all the rules once she sees the man is off the plane. At the end of the video, the woman can be seen standing at the aircraft’s door ready to get off.

Although the unnamed Afghan asylum-seeker was removed from the plane, Swedish authorities said he will eventually be deported later. Moreover, Ersson could face up to six months in prison because she refused to comply with police orders.

Sweden has hardline stance towards asylum-seekers. The country’s far-right party opposes asylum. The country halted deportations to Afghanistan briefly after two bomb blasts rocked the Asian country and killed hundreds of people, but resumed deportations later.

Ersson’s video has since then gone viral and she has received widespread praised for her action.

Spotlight, Banner: Pixabay, StelaDi

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