Dubai: A farmer, who is accused of endangering an aircraft’s safety by trying to open its doors while it was taxiing before take off, will be checked by psychiatrists to examine his mental state.
Prosecutors accused the 27-year-old Pakistani farmer, Q.A., of endangering the lives of passengers and imperilling the safety of an Emirates aircraft that was bound for Karachi when he tried to repeatedly open its door in June.
Shortly after the aircraft taxied before taking off, the suspect was said to have suddenly jumped from his seat and tried to open the door.
Prosecutors accused Q.A. of turning physically violent and assaulting three flight attendants, who tried to restrain him and put him back to his seat.
The defendant was on bail before he showed up at the Dubai Court of First Instance on Tuesday and entered a not guilty plea.
His lawyer argued before presiding judge Mohammad Jamal in courtroom three: “My client suffers from a mental disease that makes him not responsible for his actions. He did not have a criminal intention… however we ask the court to have him examined by a committee of psychiatrists to assess his sanity.”
Following short deliberations with his two deputy judges, presiding judge Jamal said: “The suspect’s bail has been cancelled. He will be admitted to a mental ward for 15 days during which he will be monitored and examined by a specialised committee of psychiatrists. The committee will have to tender its report about the defendant’s sanity and whether he was responsible for his actions at the time when the incident happened.”
According to the charge sheet, prosecutors said the defendant assaulted three attendants — a Portuguese, German and Sri Lankan — when they tried to calm him down and restrain him.
Records said Q.A. tried to open the aircraft’s door while it was in motion more than two times.
The Portuguese stewardess testified to prosecutors that shortly after the captain started taxiing, the suspect unbuckled his seat belt and walked directly towards her.
“I asked him to go back to his seat because we were about to take off. He refused and wanted to leave the aircraft. He did not mention why he wanted to leave, but he just wanted to get out. My colleagues and I could not restrain him at first and he assaulted us. He pushed me and punched my colleague. Due to the seriousness and dangerousness of the situation [had the suspect opened the door] we immediately reported the matter to the captain,” she claimed.
Records said the captain had to abort take off and return the aircraft to its gate before the cabin crew restrained the farmer.
The police were rushed to the aircraft instantly and the defendant was taken into custody.
The German attendant testified to prosecutors that all their efforts to convince Q.A. to sit were in vain.
“Had he opened the door, the emergency slide door would have opened in front of the heated engine… the elastic safety slide door could have also been blown into the engine and caused a fire,” he claimed.
The psychiatrists’ committee is expected to produce its report in court on October 19.