Last updated: 11:06 AM ET, Mon July 06 2015

Portuguese Actor Falsely Suspected of Terrorism on Airplane in Paris

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | July 06, 2015

Portuguese Actor Falsely Suspected of Terrorism on Airplane in Paris

A Portuguese actor got more than he bargained for last week as he was taken off a flight as a suspected terrorist while waiting for his plane to take off from Paris, France, to Lisbon, Portugal.

Heitor Lourenco—a 47-year-old actor from Portugal—was reading a passage from a sacred Tibetan Buddhist text while waiting for his Transavia flight to take off when some of the passengers became alarmed by what he was saying.

According to Reuters, Lourenco was reading a passage from the Buddhist text and was timing his mediation by using his tablet’s built-in timer. The countdown and ritualistic reading in Tibetan resulted in the authorities being called and all of the passengers being removed from the plane.

Lourenco spoke to SIC television, via Reuters, saying, “Police told me that I had been denounced as a terrorism suspect aboard the plane because I was reciting the Koran aloud, that I was reading a text involving words ‘death’ and ‘bomb.’”

Police took Lourenco into custody and questioned him for six hours. Eventually, authorities watched videos of the actor’s performances and read his Wikipedia page to confirm that he was indeed an actor and that he was a confirmed Buddhist.

A Transavia spokesperson told Reuters that another passenger had alerted crew members about Lourenco’s comments during prayer, and the airline claims it followed standard procedures, especially considering France has dealt with several terrorist attacks this year already.

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