“Such mistreatment has no place in any setting”
Washington, DC – Today, Muslim Advocates and the law firm Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss PLLC filed another complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) against Aeroflot Airlines for discriminating against passengers of South Asian descent, all of whom are U.S. legal permanent residents. This complaint, filed on behalf of a family of three, comes after five US-citizens of South Asian descent filed a similar complaint on March 23, 2018.
The new filing details the experience of the Sahu family, who were threatened with “deportation” to India by Aeroflot staff while trying to reschedule their cancelled flight home to the United States from Moscow in January 2018. Despite being shown the Sahu’s United States residency documents, an Aeroflot employee still insisted on issuing the family of three new boarding passes to New Delhi. A different employee initially offered to help the Sahus, but upon speaking with her superiors, declined to assist any further. Mr. Sahu went so far as to call the Indian Embassy, but the employees refused to speak with the official. In the end, the Sahus boarded the flight to New Delhi, fearing for their safety in Moscow. The ordeal cost the family four additional days and several thousand extra dollars.
Juvaria Khan, staff attorney at Muslim Advocates, said, “Aeroflot’s mistreatment of passengers is clearly a systemic issue – the staff was made repeatedly aware of the situation but took no action. Therefore, it is imperative for DOT to not only execute a full and thorough investigation into Aeroflot’s discriminatory conduct, but to take swift action to halt further instances of gross discrimination.”
“The recent filing detailing the Sahus ordeal directly contradicts previous assertions made by Aeroflot and lends further credence to the fact that something very wrong happened in Moscow,” Waleed Nassar of Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss PLLC states. “This was no minor customer relations issue isolated to an individual employee and a few victims. This was a concerted policy orchestrated by Aeroflot to discriminate against scores of individuals with darker skin who they felt to be unworthy of the same protections that they provided to the white travelers that same day.”
Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.