French Authorities Release Grounded Plane in Human Trafficking Probe; Passengers Expected to Return to India

In a bizarre turn of events, a charter plane carrying 303 Indians to Nicaragua was sequestered at Vatry Airport in France for four days as part of a human trafficking investigation. The plane, operated by Legend Airlines, was grounded based on an anonymous tip suggesting it might be transporting trafficking victims. Two passengers were detained, and some sought asylum in France. The airport was requisitioned for emergency hearings, with local officials installing cots and providing regular meals and showers to the stranded passengers. The seizure order for the plane was lifted, allowing it to leave, and most passengers are expected to be rerouted to India on Monday.

As French authorities worked through Christmas Eve to finalize formalities and allow passengers to leave, the situation raised concerns about the mass, hasty airport hearings and the lack of information provided to passengers about their rights. The events unfolded in the transit zone, where foreigners can be held for up to four days during police investigations. The bizarre incident highlighted the complexities of international travel and the challenges authorities face in distinguishing between legitimate flights and potential illicit activities.

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