A 45-year-old man, identified as Muhammad Arif and residing in Canberra, was apprehended by the police for threatening to detonate a plane during a flight from Australia to Malaysia. The incident occurred aboard an Airbus A330, leading to his arrest and the subsequent return of Malaysia Airlines flight MH122 to Sydney.
Reports from the police indicated that Arif became disruptive during the flight and claimed to possess explosives on the aircraft. He was taken into custody and subsequently charged with making a false statement regarding a threat to damage the plane, as well as failing to adhere to safety instructions given by the cabin crew.
If found guilty, Arif could face a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison along with a fine exceeding 15,000 Australian dollars ($7,300). During the proceedings, Arif’s behavior displayed signs of instability. He refused to participate in a video link appearance in the Sydney court, citing mental health issues. His lawyer, Mostafa Daoudie, informed the court that Arif was not in a suitable mental state to provide instructions.
Due to these concerns, the case was postponed until the next day to allow Daoudie time to assess Arif’s condition. However, Arif did not appear before the court the following day, leading to a subsequent listing for Wednesday. Despite this, the court refused bail for Arif.
The flight, which was headed to Kuala Lumpur, had departed Sydney with 199 passengers and 12 crew members. Velutha Parambath, one of the passengers, recalled that Arif had drawn attention to himself before takeoff by praying aloud. Later, during the flight, Arif’s behavior escalated, involving pushing and shoving other passengers. He even implied the presence of explosives in his backpack, causing alarm among the passengers.
These events highlight the severe consequences of disruptive behavior on flights, affecting not only passengers’ safety but also leading to legal actions and potential criminal charges.