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Ryanair apologises after denying prominent Arab Spring activist permission to board flight

Palestinian writer İyad el-Baghdadi was due to fly from Berlin to Dublin for a meeting.

Norway: All-Muslim panel discusses Islam and Liberty at Oslo Freedom Forum Arab Spring activist İyad el-Baghdadi SIPA USA / PA Images SIPA USA / PA Images / PA Images

RYANAIR HAS APOLOGISED after it refused a prominent Arab Spring activist permission to board a flight in Berlin this morning. 

İyad el-Baghdadi, a Palestinian writer and intellectual who rose to prominence following 2010′s Arab Spring and who is now a refugee living in Norway, has said he was denied boarding by Ryanair at Berlin Schönefeld Airport. 

El-Baghdadi, who was travelling to Dublin, tweeted saying: “The Irish government website says I can travel but Ryanair says I can’t. If you love me, make some noise.”

According to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, Ireland accepts travel documents issued by Norway in accordance with Article 28 of the Geneva Convention.

These documents allow for short stays in Ireland up to 90 days and are issued by European states contracted to the European Agreement on the Abolition of Visas for Refugees.

El-Baghdadi, who is now a political refugee living in Norway after being deported from the United Arab Emirates in 2014, was due in Dublin for a meeting and says he was given no reason for not being allowed board the Berlin-Dublin flight today.

When presented with a printout of the INIS website’s travel documents section, Ryanair staff requested “an original”, el-Baghdadi has said. 

After asking for a Ryanair supervisor, el-Baghdadi was told one was not available. 

Ryanair later tweeted apologising to the writer. The airline has now arranged for el-Baghdadi to take the next Dublin-bound flight and has said it will arrange compensation. 

In a statement issued to, the airline said: “This customer was denied boarding because of an error made by our handling agent in Berlin. Ryanair has since made contact with the customer directly and he will travel with us later today. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

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