Twelve detainees to prison after flight incident at Palma airport

by Lorraine Williamson
12 detainees from Palma airport

PALMA – A judge in Palma is sending the 12 detainees, who fled the plane after an emergency landing in Palma de Mallorca on Friday, to prison for crimes of sedition, public disorder, and involvement in illegal immigration. 

Due to the incident, in which a plane from Morocco had to make an emergency landing on Friday evening due to an alleged medical emergency, Palma airport was closed for almost four hours. The 12 detainees remain in pre-trial detention and without bail. 12 others are still being sought. 

With the exception of one, none of the detainees wanted to testify in court. This passenger had simulated an illness that caused the medical emergency in Son Sant Joan. The same person already has a criminal record and was arrested in Marbella as early as 2020. At that time, it was for damages and defiance of authority. This time, the police have detained him for an alleged crime of favouring illegal immigration and violation of immigration law. 

The judge will determine whether it is appropriate for the 12 detainees to return to their country of origin. Or whether another form of precaution is taken, such as the prison sentence requested by the public prosecutor. 

Organised through a Facebook group 

Police have since confirmed a link between the Air Arabia plane’s diversion and the ‘Brooklyn’ Facebook group. The group is made up of thousands of young Maghrebi who are allegedly dedicated to raising money for social purposes. 

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A message was published in the group last July describing an action very similar to what happened at Palma airport. “Guys, listen, most of you want to emigrate. Follow this plan: we need 40 volunteers. All the boys from Brooklyn who are booking a plane to Turkey flying over Spain,” this post further explains that one of the passengers will simulate an illness and that everyone can flee in the emergency landing that must follow. 

Claims it was a joke

Someone from EFE then pretended to be a group member and was able to confirm that the publication was written by one YS. He now claims that he did it as a joke. Still, after the incident in Palma and before the group’s name was made public, he posted a message saying that what happened shows Brooklyn is a “legend.” To this, he added a screenshot of the July ‘post’ of the plan, along with a news report of the incident at Palma airport. Hours later, that message was deleted again and YS changed his profile picture. That message was later removed. 

EFE then contacted him by phone and said that YS denied being the author and wanted to emphasise the social aspect of the group, which by the way is not officially registered. 

Dressed in black sweatshirts and masks with a gold logo, the members can be seen in a video posted to Facebook, in which they hand out dozens of bags of clothing and food in a mountain town and pose with locals next to a banner that reads: “Brooklyn. Kingdom of Men”. 

Now members deny that the message with the emigration plan was serious, although they are concerned about it. 24 people are involved, 12 of whom are wanted and 12 others have been arrested. 

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