Aino Pennanen, the legislative secretary of the Green League, has raised eyebrows among lawmakers and citizens alike with her actions on a Finnair aircraft at Helsinki Airport on Tuesday.
Pennanen was escorted out of the aircraft that was awaiting take-off after refusing to sit down in protest of the deportation of a fellow passenger and demanding that the pilot not take off until the person being deported has been removed from the aircraft.
“Many police officers escorted me out of the aircraft and I was taken away in a police van. This [occurred] because the captain denied my request not to take off with a person who was being removed forcibly,” she described the sequence of events on Facebook.
“The Greens’ legislative secretary apparently doesn’t think she has to follow the law,” responded Timo Heinonen (NCP), a third-term Member of Parliament from Loppi, Southern Finland.
Pennanen justified her actions by arguing that “several experienced lawyers” have drawn attention to flaws in the asylum procedure, the crumbling of legal aid to asylum seekers and the stricter criteria for humanitarian protection in Finland.
“These are the major human rights issues of our time, and I feel I have an obligation to point out that no one should be sent to a place where their life is in danger,” she stated.
Jussi Halla-aho, the chairperson of the Finns Party, underscored in a press release that authorities are responsible for interpreting and implementing the decisions of the parliament in a country based on the rule of law.
“It is unsustainable for a country based on the rule of law if certain groups elevate themselves above the law and consider it their right to choose which laws, official decisions and court rulings they respect. It is particularly dangerous if people in a position of power are guilty of inciting such arbitrariness,” he wrote.
Pennanen received support from Touko Aalto, the chairperson of the Green League.
“Brave Aino Pennanen tried to prevent a person from being forcibly removed [from the country]. Drawing attention to blatant human rights problems can’t depend on the civilian bravery of individuals. The official Finland must wake up,” he tweeted.
Finnair, meanwhile, was asked in the aftermath of the incident whether its pilots have an obligation to participate in carrying out forced removals.
“We as a company or individual employees to not have the necessary information or expertise to evaluate the grounds for forced removals,” Manti Väätäinen-Pereira, a communications and social media professional at the state-owned airline, commented on Twitter.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Timo Jaakonaho – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi