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Man Who Interfered With American Airlines Flight Sentenced

November 20, 2017, 2:00 PM HST
* Updated November 20, 2:03 PM
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Anil Uskanli being detained after flight 31 landed at HNL on Friday, May 19, 2017. PC: bplus.noisefloor.dnb

Anil Uskanli, 26, of Turkey, was sentenced today to time-served (six months) in federal prison, and ordered to pay restitution of $8,525.00 for interfering with American Airlines flight crew members and attendants while aboard a May 19, 2017 flight from Los Angeles, California to Honolulu, Hawai‘i.

Elliot Enoki, acting U.S. attorney for the District of Hawai‘i, said that Uskanli was arrested upon the flight’s arrival in Honolulu, after ignoring directions from flight attendants, yelling, pounding bathroom walls and pushing against a drink cart positioned to prevent access to the cockpit.

According to information presented in court, Uskanli carried a laptop while advancing towards the cockpit, causing fear that he was carrying an explosive.

Flight attendants were required to ask passengers for help restraining Uskanli, and the pilot initiated emergency and bomb threat procedures.

Two military fighter jets were dispatched from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to escort the flight to a safe landing.

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Uskanli was ordered detained following his arrest.

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After being determined competent to stand trial, Uskanli pled guilty to interfering with a flight crew.

Uskanli claimed that his conduct was the result of mental illness.

At today’s sentencing, U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson sentenced Uskanli to six months in federal prison, the amount of time that he has served since his arrest.

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Uskanli was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $8,525.00 to American Airlines for the cost of a delayed return flight, flight crew expenses and passenger inconvenience.

The court also ordered that Uskanli be placed under a term of supervised release for three years, the maximum term available by statute for this offense.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the State of Hawai‘i Department of Public Safety Sheriff’s Office, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Airport Police. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Morgan Early.

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