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British-Indian Student Faces Trial In Spain Over ‘Blow Up Plane, Member Of Taliban’ Joke


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British Indian Aditya Verma faces trial for ‘Taliban’ joke.

Madrid: A British-Indian student recently appeaed for trial before a Spanish court over the charges of public disorder after he joked about blowing up a plane mentioning that he was a member of Taliban, extremist regime ruling Afghanistan. Identified as 20-year-old Aditya Verma, the student told a Madrid court he had no intentions “to cause public distress or cause public harm” and making two Spanish Air Force jets scramble

Verma is not facing any facing terrorism charges or a possible jail term, he but could be fined up to €22,500 (Rs 20 lakhs) if found guilty, reported BBC. It added that the Spanish defence ministry is demanding €95,000 (Rs 85.94 lakhs) in expenses.

Aditya Verma was flying on an easyJet plane to the island of Menorca with friends in July 2022 when he made the remarks on Snapchat. As soon he departed departed Gatwick airport, he sent a message to his friends that read: “On my way to blow up the plane (I’m a member of the Taliban).”

Aditya has represented England at several international chess tournaments and had once met legendary player Gary Kasparov, Daily Mail reported.
According to the BBC report, the message was intercepted by the UK security services who then flagged it to Spanish authorities. Later, two Spanish F-18 fighter jets were sent to flank the aircraft. One jet followed the easyJet plane till it landed at Menorca. The plane was then extensively searched and the boy, 18-year-old at that time, was arrested.

Verma was held in in a police cell for two days and was later released on a £8,600 bail and was allowed to leave Spain. However, he would have to come regularly for the probe by the Audiencia Nacional, BBC reported.

Speaking in the court, Verma on Monday said: “The intention was never to cause public distress or cause public harm.” He added that the message was “a joke in a private group setting”.

“It was just sent to my friends I was travelling with on the day,” he said.

Back in the UK, the boy was quizzed by British intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6, before he was allowed to return home to Orpington, Kent. Aditya is studying economics at Bath University, the report further said.

‘Sent Message Because Of My Features’

Explaining the reason behind the message, Verma said:”Since school, it’s been a joke because of my features… It was just to make people laugh.” “I was called a Taliban at school because of my features and I used to joke about it and I know the Taliban is considered to be a terrorist group,” he told the Audiencia Nacional court in Madrid.

When asked what he felt after seeing the fighrer jets flanking the plane, he said since the Russia-Ukraine war was happening “so I thought it was a military exercise related to [that] conflict”. He added that the pilot informed the passengers that the fighter jets had been scrambled because of a distress signal that had been sent by mistake, the Daily Mail said in its report.

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