Dubai holds ten Frenchover mid-air punch-up
DUBAI, Feb 19 (AFP) - Ten French nationals are being kept in Dubai pending a lawsuit filed by Sri Lankan Airlines alleging their behaviour on a recent flight endangered the safety of passengers, their lawyer said Thursday.
“The prosecutor’s investigation is ongoing and no decision has been taken yet,” Hussein al-Jazeeri told AFP.
He said 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.
The 10 were released from jail 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.
He said the group was staying at a hotel in Dubai after being detained for six days by authorities. He said he was hoping to reach an out-of-court settlement with the airline, but refused to disclose any details.
AFP was unable to locate the French nationals at a hotel where they were reportedly staying.
Jazeeri said that if the airline refused a settlement, 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.
He 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.
Dubai police authorities and the French consulate have refused to comment on the case, with the latter only confirming Wednesday that its nationals were released from police custody.
Juliette Guenza, from Rouen, in northwestern France, said Tuesday 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 a EUR 8,600 (USD 10,900) claim by the airline against them.
Subject: France news