Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Indians blocked in France: l&rsquo ;plane en route to Bombay

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The plane, which has been immobilized since Thursday in France, flew to Mumbai on Monday.

Agence France-Presse

A plane grounded since Thursday in the north-east of France amid suspicions of illegal immigration returned to Mumbai on Monday, with 276 of the initial 303 Indian passengers on board, the two who were suspected of being smugglers having for their part been released by the courts.

In addition to these two Indians, 25 others, including five minors – and not two as initially indicated by the authorities – remain for the moment in France after having made an asylum request, which will be studied at the #x27;Parisian Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport, said the Marne prefecture in a press release.

At the end of x27;a boarding which took several hours, the Airbus A340 of the small Romanian company Legend Airlines, stuck at Vatry airport since Thursday afternoon, took off at 2:35 p.m. local time, bound for Mumbai, on India's west coast, she said.

The two Indians suspected of being smugglers, born in 1984 and 2000, were not charged, but placed under the more favorable status of assisted witnesses and therefore emerged free on Monday after their interrogation before a judge. #x27;Parisian instruction.

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Paris-Vatry airport, located in northeastern France, was closed since Thursday due to a grounded plane.

The Paris prosecutor's office had requested their placement in pre-trial detention.

However, they were notified of an obligation to leave French territory (OQTF), their lawyers told AFP.

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Me Salomé Cohen, the lawyer for one of the two people put in question, praised to the AFP the extremely precise and careful reading of the investigating judge who was able to get rid of the media coverage of this case.

The judicial investigation concerns alleged acts of aiding the entry and illegal stay of foreigners in the territory in organized gangs and participation in a criminal association, said the prosecution. .

The qualification of trafficking in human beings by an organized gang has not been retained for the moment, because the 303 Indians, according to a source close to the case, apparently voluntarily boarded this plane.

Justice lifted the seizure of the aircraft on Sunday and the authorities then worked to obtain the necessary authorizations for its takeoff.

The plane was initially only scheduled to make a one-hour technical stopover at Vatry, time to refuel on its journey from Dubai (United Arab Emirates) to Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, where passengers heard by the courts on Sunday said they wanted to go for a tourist stay.

However, it was immobilized following an anonymous report that passengers were likely to be victims of human trafficking in an organized gang, the Paris prosecutor's office explained to AFP on Friday.

According to a source close to the matter, these Indians, probably workers in the United Arab Emirates, may have planned to go to Central America in order to then try to enter the United States or Canada illegally.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">We don't know if it's human trafficking, migrant smuggling or neither… But we were still kept in an airport , for three nights and three days, 303 people who were on a stopover, men, women and children. It's surprising, Geneviève Colas, the coordinator for the Caritas Catholic Relief of the Collective against human trafficking, told AFP on Sunday.

If they are truly victims of trafficking, it is not normal to simply send them back to another country.< /p>A quote from Geneviève Colas, coordinator for Secours catholique-Caritas of the Collective against trafficking in human beings

According to the Marne prefecture, individual beds, toilets and showers had been installed in the waiting area of ​​the airport, created from scratch to deal with this unprecedented situation.

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White tarpaulins had been installed to hide the entrance to the terminal .

The president of Châlons-en-Champagne, Me François Prosecutor, was concerned on Sunday about problems of cramped conditions and poor living conditions.

Justice on Sunday questioned the legality of the procedure keeping passengers in this waiting zone, deeming it illegal for the first three passengers interviewed by a judge of freedoms and detention.

Thanks to the French government and Vatry airport for the resolution rapid response to the situation, reacted the Indian embassy in France on X.

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