A former Paralympian has copped a year in jail for gluing himself to a British Airways plane back in 2019.
James Brown, a visually-impaired Northern Irish cyclist who has represented Great Britain, Ireland and Northern Ireland in five Paralympic Games, glued his hand to an Ampsterdamn-bound plane at London City airport as part of an Extinction Rebellion protest on 10 October 2019.
The 56-year-old, who has won two gold medals, wedged his phone in the aircraft’s door so it wouldn’t close, according to BBC News.
He spent an hour live-streaming his protest on his phone before being forcibly removed.
— Extinction Rebellion UK 🌍 (@XRebellionUK) July 28, 2021
Brown reportedly delayed more than 300 British Airways passengers and cost the airline nearly £40,000 ($75,000).
Judge Gregory Perrins sentenced Brown to 12 months in jail at Southwark Crown Court, of which he will only serve six months.
Perrins said Brown had “cynically” used his disability to put his plan in action, BBC News reported.
“The right to protest does not entitle you to cause major widespread disruption to a major airport… simply because you think it is the right thing to do,” Gregory said.
“This is a case in which you acted together with at least 10 other activists to plan and execute a major act of disruption.
“You intended to cause the maximum amount of disruption possible at the airport, if not shut it down completely.”
Brown said he “had to do something spectacular” to bring attention to climate change and denied one count of causing a public nuisance. He was found guilty in July.
“I was prepared to challenge myself, to be scared, to face the fear, because the fear of climate ecological breakdown is so much greater,” he said, according to The Guardian.
Alannah Byrne, a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion, told The Guardian the group was “shocked and devastated” by Brown’s sentencing.
“To put a partially blind man in jail while the Prime Minister quotes Kermit the Frog to the UN and recruits the Wombles as the Cop [climate talks] mascots shows what a mockery our leaders are making of this moment,” Byrne said.
Travel Weekly has approached British Airways for comment.
Featured image source: Facebook/XRebellionUK