The young man accused of public disorder defended himself in Spain’s National Court saying it was a joke.
In the summer of 2022, Aditya V. was about to board a flight to the Spanish island of Menorca at London’s Gatwick Airport.
Just before boarding, the young British man decided to send photos of the check-in area to seven of his friends via the social network Snapchat. The pictures included a phrase he had written himself: “On my way to blow up the plane, I’m a member of the Taliban”.
British intelligence discovered the message when the plane was already over France and decided to alert Spain, as the flight was due to land on the Spanish island.
The Ministry of Defence sent a Eurofighter to escort the plane, believing the passenger to be a terrorist.
On Monday, the young man defended himself in Spain’s National Court, accused of public disorder and facing a lawsuit from the Spanish Ministry of Defence demanding that he pay the €94,782.47 it cost to send the Eurofighter.
“It was a joke”, he defended himself before the judge, explaining that he did it because his friends “always made fun of him because of his Pakistani features”.
According to El Español, the young man explained that he could see the Eurofighter from the window of the plane, but that he never thought it was there because of the message he sent, thinking it was a training exercise for the war in Ukraine.
With the help of an interpreter, the young man was able to tell his side of the story. He insisted that he never thought the prank would go so far, and that he had only shared the picture with his group of friends.
The problem was that one of his friends was connected to the airport’s public Wi-Fi, so the photo ended up with British intelligence.
“The prosecutor asked the young man: “Did you never think that you could cause fear?”
The Spanish Penal Code states that a person who “falsely simulates a situation of danger to the community” that requires assistance from the police or emergency services “shall be punished”.
After Monday’s testimonies, the trial was scheduled for sentencing.