Source AP ©

Palestinian who stowed away in a jetliner's wheel carriage to be deported

Malaysian court dropped the charge against a Palestinian who hid in a plane’s wheel carriage to fly from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. Now the man will be deported from the country.

Osama R.M. Shublaq, 28, was charged last month with trespassing in a protected area in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Oct. 11. He was believed to have evaded security by scaling perimeter fences before climbing into the nose wheel of a Singapore Airlines flight.

He fell out from the front wheel well of the Boeing 777 shortly after it landed at Changi Airport . He was dizzy from lack of oxygen after the 55-minute flight, but was otherwise unhurt.

Singaporean authorities handed over Shublaq to Malaysia after charges against him for illegally entering the city-state were dropped.

Malaysian prosecutors announced in a Magistrate's Court Tuesday that they were dropping a charge of trespassing against him, said a court official who spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to make public statements.

The charge carried a maximum jail sentence of two years and a fine.

Government lawyers could not immediately be reached, but Shublaq's attorney, Latheefa Koya, said the decision was due to "humanitarian considerations" because Shublaq had fled from a conflict-ridden area and suffered from depression.

Shublaq, who entered Malaysia on a social visit visa, stowed away on the plane because he was feeling desperate and under pressure when his travel documents were close to expiring, Latheefa said.

Shublaq, who was in court for Tuesday's hearing, was taken to an immigration detention center and will be deported to the Palestinian territories later this week, said a police officer who also declined to be identified, citing protocol.

Ahmed Metani, an official at the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Kuala Lumpur, said Shublaq will be sent back to Gaza City, where he is expected to be interrogated further by Palestinian authorities.

"It will be investigated why he committed such an act," Metani said.

The incident embarrassed the Malaysian government, which ordered an investigation into measures to prevent similar incidents at the airport.

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