25 Indians from grounded plane seeking asylum in France freed: Reports

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Twenty-five Indian passengers who had stayed behind seeking asylum in France after their flight from the U.A.E. was grounded last week over suspicion of human trafficking before being allowed to take off for India have now been freed, according to local French media reports on December 27.

These 25 passengers were not on the flight carrying 276 mostly Indian passengers which took off for Mumbai on Monday afternoon after four days of being held at Châlons-Vatry airport near Paris.

The ‘Le Monde’ newspaper quoted prosecutors to say that the local judge had ordered their release on “formal grounds”, considering that the head of the border police at France’s main Charles De Gaulle airport “had not referred the case to him” within the timeframe stipulated by law.

“They are therefore free to do as they please, even if they are in an irregular situation on French territory,” the Bobigny public prosecutor’s office told the French newspaper.

The 25 passengers, who had applied for political asylum in France, were reportedly freed on December 26 and five of them were taken into care of child welfare services being minors.

The 25 people were among 303 passengers who boarded a plane operated by Romanian company Legend Airlines in Dubai last week. They were bound for Nicaragua but a refueling stopover at Vatry airport in northeastern France on December 21 resulted in the plane being grounded for four days after an anonymous tipoff.

Among those staying behind in France were two people questioned by police over suspected people trafficking.

According to local media reports, the charge of human trafficking was dropped against two arrested people after it was established the passengers had boarded the plane of their own free will.


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