Tunisia: Outcry over Italian Court's Verdict on Tunisian Pilots

Two Tunisian pilots of Tuninter Flight 1153, which crash landed in the sea off Sicily in 2005 killing 16 people, were sentenced to 10 years in prison by an Italian court. The decision is being contested by Tunisian bloggers, who say the pilots’ heroic efforts in saving the 23 other passengers on board should have been celebrated.

Some thoughts from Tunisia [Ar] smells discrimination in the verdict and writes:

لو كانوا ايطاليين او فرنسيين او انقليزيين وامريكيين او غيرهم يعني غربيين وليسوا عرب لتمّ الاحتفاء بالطيّارين الذين تمكّنوا من انقاذ 23 شخصا من مجموع 39 كانو على متن طائرة تحطّمت في عرض البحر بعد نفاذ وقودها دون ان يتمّ التفطّن لذلك في الوقت المناسب جرّاء عطب فنّي!!! ولتم نعتهم بالابطال…!!

لكن اسمائهم ليست آلان ولا دافيد ولا جون بول بل شفيق الغربي و علي الكبّير لذا فعليهم دفع الثّمن في نظر القضاء الايطالي !! والتّهمة في نظر هذا القضاء المتعسّف هي انّهم لجؤا بسبب خوفهم الشديد بالانشغال بالدعاء والاستغاثة بالله بالدعاء في وقت كان يتعين عليهم فيه القيام بإجرآت الطوارئ لتجنب تحطم طائرتهم حسب ما جاء في تسجيلات غرفة القيادة. وهو عين الافتراء حسب ما تبيّنه تّسجيلات الصندوق الاسود التّي تبيّن ان الطياريين بذلوا ما في وسعهم لانقاذ ما يمكن انقاذه (طلب هليكوبترين، اجراء الهبوط الاضطراري قرب باخرتين لاعطاء فرص نجاة اكبر…) !!

If they were Italian, French, English or Americans, i.e. Westerners and not Arabs, they would have been glorified! They are pilots who managed to rescue 23 people from all 39 on board a plane that crashed in the sea after it ran out of fuel, which they could not discover in a timely manner due to a technical problem!! They would have otherwise been described as heroes …!!  

But their names are not Alain, David, nor John Paul. They are named Shafik Al Gharbi and Ali Kbeyer. Therefore, for the Italian justice, they should pay the price!! They have been charged because they opted to pray for God to help them at a time when they had to perform emergency procedures to avoid their plane crash, according to recordings from the cockpit. But these are lies as shown by the black box recordings. Indeed it shows that the two pilots did their best to save what can be saved (they requested two helicopters and conducted an emergency landing near two vessels to give their passengers a greater chance of survival …) .

Articuler [Fr], on his part, echoes a similar sentiment:

Le tribunal italien de Palerme a prononcé lundi 23 mars 2009 son verdict dans l’affaire du crash de l’ATR de la compagnie aérienne tunisienne Tuninter.
Le verdict de la justice italienne a été très sévère et représente une véritable première ! Jamais, par le passé, les responsables administratifs d’une compagnie aérienne n’ont été condamnés à des peines de prison ferme. En prononçant des condamnations allant jusqu’à dix ans de prison, la justice italienne inflige aux responsables tunisiens des peines comme s’ils étaient de véritables chauffards éméchés sur la route. Et encore, on s’interroge si les ivrognes italiens du volant écopent de peines aussi lourdes !

On Monday, March 23, the Italian court in Palermo issued a verdict in the case of the crash of an ATR airplane belonging to the Tunisian airline, Tuninter.
The verdict of the Italian court has been very severe and represents a real first!  Never before have airline executives been sentenced to prison. In imposing sentences of up to 10 years in prison, the Italian courts have punished the Tunisian executives as though they were drunk drivers on the road. And yet, one wonders if the drunk-driving Italian suffers as heavy a penalty!

1 comment

  • jerry

    i am completly outraged by this behavior of the italian courts this is a crying shame how can they be so blind i truly belive these pilots were doing all they could to save everyone including themselfs and they should have been givin a metal for bravery not sentenced to prison – this is totally outrageous !!!!!!!!

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