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The National Court acquitted the young man who joked about attacking a plane in a private conversation

The judge considered that the defendant “could not have even remotely predicted” that the joke he sent only to his friends would be intercepted by British intelligence services, which caused a Spanish Army fighter jet to take action.

The National Court has acquitted a young man accused of sending a message to his friends in which he joked about blowing up the plane before boarding a flight from London to Menorca in 2022, of disturbing public order. The message, sent to a private group on the Snapchat platform he shared with six friends he was traveling with, was intercepted by authorities and led to the mobilization of an Army fighter jet to escort him to his destination. The Prosecutor’s Office and the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office demanded that the young man be fined 22 thousand 500 euros for the crime of disturbing public order due to the fake bomb threat and that 94 thousand 782 euros be paid to the Ministry of National Defense as compensation. to activate military aircraft, a Eurofighter.

In his sentenceJosé Manuel Fernández Prieto, the chief criminal judge of the National Court, explains that on July 3, 2022, the defendant Aditya Verma, a 19-year-old Indian native and holder of a British passport, sent a message containing a photo. A text saying that and in English: “I’m going to fly the plane (I’m a member of the Taliban).” The judge stated that the reasons why this particular message was intercepted by the UK security mechanisms while the plane was flying over French airspace were unknown, so the Spanish authorities were informed, who assigned a fighter jet to escort the commercial plane to Menorca. .

A Spanish fighter jet seen from the plane's window escorts an Easyjet flight carrying Aditya Verma on July 3, 2022.
A Spanish fighter jet seen from the plane’s window escorts an Easyjet flight carrying Aditya Verma on July 3, 2022.MARCUS TORR (via REUTERS)

He added that after landing, the alleged threat was proven not to be real, as no explosives, objects or devices were found to confirm this. According to the judge, his actions could not be considered criminal because “the intention to provoke the mobilization of Army aircraft or any other Police, relief or rescue service was not expressed or even remotely inferred.” He also adds that the message and photo in question were not sent to any official organization and were not promoted, but instead “were carried out in a completely private environment between the defendant and his friends with whom he was flying.” A group that only they have access to.”

The judge explains that “the defendant cannot even remotely assume that the prank he played on his friends could have been intercepted or detected by third parties other than the British services or his friends who received the message.” “On the contrary, these are carried out in a completely private environment, between the defendant and his friends with whom he flies, through a private group,” explains Fernández Prieto. The judge acknowledged that he did not know how the British services became aware of the photograph and the message sent, as these were not the subject of evidence at the trial, but insisted that no intention was attributed to the defendant to activate the specified services. The judge touched on the claim that the person who revealed the message at the hearing might have been one of his friends. Regarding this situation, it has been clarified that “in any case, if a statement made by a third party from a private group is made public, the crime will never be committed by the defendant, but by this third party.”

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Source: El Pais

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