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Suspects accused of faking medical emergency to force plane's landing in Mallorca

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By Euronews  with AP
Two of the suspects are escorted by police officers to the courthouse in Palma de Mallorca.
Two of the suspects are escorted by police officers to the courthouse in Palma de Mallorca.   -   Copyright  JAIME REINA / AFP   -  

A Spanish court has detained twelve men on suspicion of forcing a plane to land in Mallorca last week.

The suspects are accused of faking an in-flight medical emergency to make a plane land and give them a chance to enter Europe illegally.

The twelve men are also accused of threatening the flight's crew, the court said on Monday.

Spanish authorities are still investigating events surrounding the unscheduled landing of an Air Arabia flight at Palma de Mallorca airport on Friday evening.

The plan was heading to Istanbul from Casablanca in Morocco but landed on the Spanish Balearic island to provide assistance to a supposedly ill passenger.

Investigators are probing whether the incident was staged by the suspects.

After landing, a group of 21 passengers coerced the crew into letting them get off the plane and jumped onto the tarmac.

Some allegedly attempted to leave the airport without going through immigration controls, forcing the airport to close for several hours.

The man who allegedly faked the medical condition was arrested at the hospital, where he was taken by ambulance. Spanish police detained eleven other men at different locations over the weekend.

The court accuses the 12 suspects of coercion and sedition, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years in Spain.

Two of the men are also accused of promoting illegal immigration.