Student Forces Flight To Be Cancelled To Stop Man Being Deported To ‘Hell’

by : Julia Banim on : 25 Jul 2018 09:11
Student refuses to sit down to protect a man being deported.Student refuses to sit down to protect a man being deported.Elin Ersson/Facebook

A student activist’s passionate protest has gone viral after she rallied against the deportation of an Afghan asylum seeker.


While on a Turkish airlines flight travelling from Gothenburg, Sweden to Istanbul, Turkey, 22-year-old Elin Ersson had been seated in front of a 52-year-old Afghan man.

When the Swedish student discovered her fellow passenger was actually an asylum seeker who was due to be deported back to Kabul after landing in Istanbul, she decided to take action.

Taking out her phone, Elin took a 14-minute clip, which shows her refusing to take a seat, knowing the plane would be unable to take off if she remained standing.

In the footage she stressed how the man’s life would be in danger if he returned to his home country.

Student protest stops plane taking off.Student protest stops plane taking off.Julia Banim

Explaining her stance, Elin can be heard protesting:

I don’t want a man’s life to be taken away just because you don’t want to miss your flight. I am not going to sit down until the person is off the plane.

When an air steward told her to stop filming, Elin replied:

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.

You can watch Elin taking a stand below:

Passengers on board the flight reacted in various ways. Some were sympathetic with the situation the man found himself in, and the bravery it had taken the young woman to speak up, but others were furious about the interruption.


At one point, a passenger with an English accent attempted to snatch Elin’s phone away from her, however she remained firm.

Addressing this passenger, Elin said:

What is more important, a life, or your time?  I want him to get off the plane because he is not safe in Afghanistan.

I am trying to change my country’s rules, I don’t like them. It is not right to send people to hell.

Compassionate Elin’s persistence paid off, and the asylum seeker was taken off the flight after authorities declined to remove Elin by force.

Applause could be heard as the man exited the plane and since the incident, people have hailed Elin a hero and true political activist on social media.

One person tweeted:

We need more heroes like #ElinErsson. Standing up against what is wrong.

While another said:

There are not many people I admire at the moment, but #ElinErsson is up there among them. I wish I could believe I would have her courage.


Swedish authorities have since stated how the asylum seeker still faces deportation. However, a date has not been set as of yet.

Elin may now face a prison sentence of up to six months for her refusal to obey police orders.

If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Life


Elin Errson/Facebook
  1. Elin Errson/Facebook

    Deportation from Gothenburg to Afghanistan