British student on trial after telling friends he was ‘Taliban’ member before boarding plane to Spain

If he is found guilty, Spain’s public prosecutor is asking for a fine of €22,500 (£19,300). 

He also faces a bill of €95,000 (£81,400) to compensate the Spanish defence ministry for the cost of scrambling its jets.

Mr Verma, who was 18 at the time, was kept under arrest and questioned by Spanish police for two days before being released on bail.

Back on British soil, he was questioned by MI5 and MI6 before returning home to Orpington, south London.

Mr Verma’s defence lawyer told Spain’s National Court that her client’s comment had been a “bad joke” but one that was made in a private group that British authorities had intercepted in breach of his right to privacy.

“Aditya didn’t put his message on Facebook or advertise it. What he did was the equivalent of making a joke inside a car with friends,” she said.

“This boy was 18 years old and was beginning a holiday which was a reward for his school excellence. When he and his friends landed in Menorca, they realised they were in a nightmare,” the lawyer concluded.

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