French detained over plane 'ruckus'

Ten French nationals are being held in Dubai pending a lawsuit by Sri Lankan Airlines alleging their behaviour on a recent flight endangered the safety of passengers.

    The plane made an emergency landing in Dubai

    The passengers' lawyer, Hussein al-Jazeeri, said on Thursday that Sri Lankan

     Airlines accused the 10 passengers of

    "behaviour (that) endangered the safety of the airplane and

    passengers" on a recent flight from Colombo to Paris.

    He said 

    "the prosecutor's investigation is ongoing and no decision has

    been taken yet".

    The 10 were released from jail on Wednesday.

    "They were freed from detention on condition that their

    passports remain with authorities and that the (French) consulate

    guarantees they be handed over again to the prosecutor's for further

    questioning if need be," Jazeeri said.

    Investigation

    He said the group was staying at a hotel in Dubai after being

    detained for six days by authorities.

    The lawyer said he was hoping to reach

    an out-of-court settlement with the airline, but refused to disclose

    any details.

    If the airline refused a settlement, he said the Dubai

    prosecutor's office would decide whether to close the case, refer it

    to court or require that the case remain open pending further

    investigation.

    "They (the 10 passengers) were freed from detention on condition that their

    passports remain with authorities and that the (French) consulate

    guarantees they be handed over again to the prosecutor's for further

    questioning if need be"

    Hussein al-Jazeeri,
    Passengers' lawyer

    But al-Jazeeri refused to say what caused the airline to make an emergency

    landing in Dubai, where the French were taken into police custody.

    However, he said the charge reflected that the pilot felt that their

    behaviour endangered the safety of the airplane and other

    passengers.

    Ruckus

    Dubai police authorities and the French consulate have refused

    to comment on the case, with the latter only confirming on Wednesday

    that its nationals were released from police custody.

    Juliette Guenza, from Rouen, in northwestern France, said on Tuesday that

     her son Yvan and nephew Nicolas had intervened in a bid to

    settle an argument between a stewardess and another French

    passenger, following her refusal to serve him more alcohol.

    She said the ruckus that ensued prompted the pilot to make an

    emergency landing in Dubai, where dozens of French nationals on the

    flight, including the Geunzas, were detained.

    She said a judge in Dubai cleared her boy and nephew of any

    wrongdoing but that they were held pending an $

    10,900-claim by the airline against them.

    SOURCE: AFP


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