Refugee activist faces court

April 8, 2016

Jasmine Pilbrow faced court on April 7 after she stood up for a refugee who was being deported on her Qantas flight.

On February 2 last year, Pilbrow calmly and peacefully refused to take her seat on a Qantas flight in an effort to prevent the forced removal of a vulnerable asylum seeker from Australia to Sri Lanka. She has been charged with "interference with a crew member of an aircraft" under the Civil Aviation Act and faces a fine of $10,500 or two years' imprisonment.

Pilbrow is still in contact with the 25-year-old Tamil man, known as Puvaneethan, whose deportation she tried to stop. After her protest he was taken back to a Melbourne detention centre before he was eventually deported to Sri Lanka.

Outside the court Pilbrow said: "We have no idea what my sentence will be. But it's nothing compared to why I took that action, and what happened to that asylum seeker. So I'm willing to take this on."

Pilbrow has received messages of support from around the world from activists opposed to the mandatory deportation and detention of asylum seekers.

"It's been amazing to see and know that the refugee movement is so frustrated and angry with our government at the moment that they're willing to support people taking these actions."

To learn more about the case visit "Qantas: Take A Stand For Human Rights" on Facebook.

Photos: Daniel Christiansz

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