A PASSENGER on a Doha-Bangkok flight on July 26 was yesterday sentenced to one year in jail for “endangering the flight and beating up two crew members”.
The 59-year-old Emirati national was further fined QR3,000 for drinking alcohol on the Qatar Airways flight.
Passing the verdict, judge Mamon Hamour said the actions of the man constituted a real threat to passengers’ safety and “such behaviour cannot be condoned.”
The defendant is a public servant in his country and had sought a quick trial to be able to leave Qatar.
The Emirati denied the charges, saying the crew served him soda instead of wine.
A Thai stewardess on the flight told the court that some 45 minutes after takeoff, she saw a bottle in the possession of the accused and he tried to hide it.
“When I asked him to give it to me as it was against the company’s rules, he started to shout.” She said he appeared to be totally drunk. “He also quarrelled with his co-passengers, abusing them and spitting on them. He also threw the blanket and pillow around.” The hostess said the passenger ignored a note passed on to him by the captain to refrain from drinking liquor.
The captain then decided to land in Karachi, where the plane stayed for three and a half hours before continuing to Bangkok. Pakistani security personnel detained the man. The captain testified in the court that his decision was inevitable in the wake of the mayhem on board.
The wife of the accused who was travelling with him said he had brought on board a bottle of vodka that he bought from a duty-free shop.
Answering a question by the defendant’s lawyer, the captain said that it was not his headache to investigate how the accused was allowed to bring wine with him on board.
The defendant’s lawyer said that he had already filed an appeal at least to suspend the imprisonment verdict.