A Pakistani man who screamed ‘Allahu Akbar’ during turbulence on a Birmingham-bound flight earlier this year has been jailed, the Mirror reported. Shehraz Sarwar, who was arrested for using threatening words and behaviour on the plane, threw food and towels around causing an uproar in the aircraft as people feared a terrorist attack.
The 38-year-old has now been jailed for ten weeks at Birmingham Crown Court.
Earlier during takeoff, the 38-year-old had refused to fasten his seat belt but had later settled down and slept for hours. However, as the pilot lined the plane up to land, he became aggressive. There was also severe turbulence on the plane at the time.
Prosecuting Sarwar in Birmingham Crown Court, Patrick Sullivan QC told the Birmingham Mail, “The behaviour before these words was obnoxious. He fell asleep for about three-quarters of the flight and when he woke up he threw a towel back at a member of staff who had offered him one. He also threw a stone behind him although it did not land on anyone.”
“He was also hitting his head with his hand. People were distressed and upset by his behaviour,” Sullivan added. He said, “There was terrible turbulence during the flight and some passengers were very frightened.
Sarwar, a resident of Birmingham, pleaded guilty to the charges. His lawyer, Balbir Singh, said he had been affected by the death of his grandmother and hadn’t taken his medication.
“The heavy turbulence also provoked him,” his lawyer said.
One passenger said they were happy to have survived the landing but thought Sarwar was going to set off a bomb aboard the flight. Judge Francis Laird QC told Sarwar, “Set in the context of the current political situation , chanting Allahu Akbar over and over again while on a plane had a frightening effect on some of the passengers and reduced some to tears. You misbehaved and you were arrogant onboard.”
“Incidents such as these on planes are taken very seriously by the courts and due to the circumstances I have no alternative but to send you to prison for 10 weeks.”
Sarwar was also told he would be placed on a licence with a 12-month supervision order when he was released.