Airport officials stopped a 27-year-old man who attempted to fly from the UK to Egypt using a fake “fit-to-fly” COVID-19 certificate.
Emmanuel Nere Mehari tried to board a plane from London Heathrow to Egypt to visit a sick relative. He was found with the fake document at London Heathrow’s Terminal 2.
Mehari was initially allowed to board the plane after the clinic validated the certificate. However, the airport officials were soon called back by the clinic, who stated Mehari had not attended the clinic and that it had been altered or fraudulent.
After being caught with the fake certificate, Mehari claimed that he did not realize a negative test was needed to fly. He had paid £50 to acquire the fake document.
Sarj Patel, the defending lawyer, said, “In that moment of desperation, Mehari just made a foolish decision to go along with someone who was attempting to help him. He did not even look at the certificate, and it was a decision made minutes before he presented it to the desk assistant. He was involved through exploitation by another.”
He was fined £180, sentenced to a 12-month community order in addition to 180 hours of unpaid work.