Soccer players accused of disturbing a flight return to San Dieg - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Soccer players accused of disturbing a flight return to San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Six members of an El Cajon soccer team who were charged in Texas with causing a disturbance on a flight are scheduled to fly back to San Diego Thursday.

On Wednesday, members of the soccer team appeared in federal court in Texas.

The men were removed from a Southwest flight from San Diego to Chicago on Monday night, accused of unruly behavior.

The group of men, ages 19 through 23, were charged with interfering with a flight crew, according to federal authorities.

The athletes were headed to Midway International in Chicago on Monday night for a soccer tournament, but Flight 1522 made an unscheduled landing at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport in Amarillo, Texas, according to airline officials.

According to other passengers on the flight, six of the soccer players began to argue with a flight attendant who would not serve them more alcohol when the incident escalated. The men allegedly began arguing with a passenger seated behind them.

According to the criminal complaint, the six defendants, who were sitting together on the plane, were disruptive on the flight and did not comply with instructions.

Saiman Hermez, 19, Jonathan Khalid Petras, 20, Ghazwan Asaad Shaba, 21, Essa Solaqa, 20, Khalid Yohana, 19, and Wisam Imad Shaker, 23 -- all from San Diego -- appeared in federal court in Amarillo on Wednesday.

Among other things, prosecutors alleged the players refused to put their tray tables and seat backs up prior to takeoff. According to prosecutors, the men became loud and angry when a flight attendant refused to serve them alcohol.

According to Aaron Davis, a local reporter for The Amarillo Glob News, the men were brought before the judge separately.

"Their demeanor in the beginning was very remorseful. It seems like they were a little bit afraid of what was going to happen to them," said Davis.

Each were charged with interference of a flight crew. They were released on a $10,000 unsecured bond under the following conditions:

1) They cannot fly with Southwest Airlines

2) They cannot have alcohol

3) They must stay within the Southern district of Southern California, specifically, San Diego, or in the Amarillo, Texas area. 

If convicted, each of the men could face 20 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine. 

Local Chaldean Leader Mark Arabo does not dispute reports that the soccer team became rowdy and using profanity, but he does however say that the young men were reportedly reacting to an inapproriate comment made by a stewardess on board. 

According to Arabo, the stewardess told the men she would only serve them if they spoke English. "This is America. You should speak English in America," said the Southwest flight attendant, according to Arabo. 

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