2 Sentenced to Prison for Disrupting Southwest Flight

Two California men convicted of disrupting a Chicago-bound Southwest Airlines flight in 2015 have been sentenced to prison.

Jonathan Khalid Petras and Wisam Imad Shaker, of San Diego, were sentenced Monday after their June convictions in Amarillo, on charges of interfering with a flight crew and aiding and abetting.

U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater sentenced the 21-year-old Petras to seven months in prison. The 23-year-old Shaker got five months in prison. Both could have been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison each.

An affidavit said six men boarded Flight 1522 in San Diego last August and were seated together when they became aggressive and used obscene language when denied alcohol.

Pilots eventually diverted the plane to Amarillo.

The men had been on their way to a tournament in Chicago with four other Chaldean soccer players from San Diego, according to the affidavit.

San Diego Attorney Sammer Zakhour said the Chaldean player had felt that since they had been speaking in their Aramaic language, there was a cultural misunderstanding with the flight crew.

Two of the other four were acquitted. Charges against the other two were dropped.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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