Paris Court of appeal on Tuesday found the French flag carrier Air France guilty of exercising “racial discrimination” for removing a pro- Palestinian activist from a Tel Aviv- bound flight because she was not Israeli or Jewish.
In April, the Court of First Instance, ordered the French carrier to pay the passenger ten thousand Euros in compensation and another 30 thousand Euros in damages to the passenger.
The Court of appeals ratified on Tuesday the Court of First Instance’s rule, but did not compel the company to publish the judgment in the media, as stated in the first ruling.
During the appeal sessions, the Attorney General requested a non-guilty verdict for Air France saying the main reason for removing the passenger was not her origins but the Israeli authorities’ refusal to receive her which he called “completely legitimate”.
Clémence Bectarte, the passenger’s legal defendant told AFP “Of course we are happy with this ruling but we would have preferred if it was published in the press, because of Air France behaviour which had insisted on not acknowledging its responsibilities on this matter”.
Air France lawyer, Fabrice Pradon said “It’s not a surprise for us. We should not have asked the passenger about her religion, this was a mistake, even if it happened on humanitarian grounds in order to spare the complainant being arrested upon her arrival by the Israeli authorities”.
He also said the company administration has been instructed to avoid recurrence of such incidents.
In April, 2012, Hurriya Ankor, a 31 years old nursing student was on her way to Tel Aviv to participate in the “Welcome to Palestine” protest organised by Palestinian activists and supporters.
While the plane was preparing to take off from Nice, southeast of France, she was approached by an Air France employee who asked her if she was carrying an Israeli passport or if she was Jewish. When Hurriya said no to both questions, she was removed from the plane and prevented from travelling.