A Somali woman convicted of trying to hijack a flight from Blenheim to Christchurch six years ago claims police told her she would be taken to the United States and shot if she did not admit it.
Asha Ali Abdille, then 36, was in August 2010 sentenced to nine years' jail with a non-parole period of six years for trying to hijack the flight on February 8, 2008.
She had already been in custody for 2-1/2 years when sentenced and today told the Court of Appeal, through an interpreter, that she pleaded guilty after police pressure.
"... they said unless you say that I hijack plane, we will take you to America and you will be shot. Executed," she said.
"I (did) not hijack the plane. The police asked me to say that."
Abdille, who today represented herself after firing trial lawyer Elizabeth Bulger, went on to claim there was a conspiracy between Immigration and the police; she had come to New Zealand in 1994 believing the Government was "giving us a land and helping us".
"But there was politics behind that and the Government wanted us to be mistresses for the white man," Abdille said.
Young women were made to have babies they did not want, and Abdille claimed police persecuted her when she fought against it.
"I said we should all come together as a community ... because I was against white men using us and having sex with us.
"I wanted (a) chance to explain, tell you that," she told the Court of Appeal judges.
Abdille claimed the knives she was carrying on the fateful flight were simply cutlery she was taking to her sister, who was trying to set up house in Christchurch. She also had forks and plates, and the pilot had inspected her luggage, she said.
However, she claimed the pilot had kept looking at her and she saw in him a resemblance to a man who had used her as a "sexual slave". She believed it to be that man, and that he was going to take her to an island and imprison her.
Abdille has a background of mental health issues and sentencing judge Justice Christine French had taken that into account when sentencing her.
Crown counsel Mark Lillico told the Court of Appeal today Abdille received the maximum non-parole period, and that did not usually happen if the judge believed there was a prospect of successful treatment.
However, Adbille had failed to take prescribed anti-psychotic medication and had cancelled follow-up appointments with medical professionals.
Counsel Mary Kennedy, who was appointed by the court to represent Adbille's interests in the absence of a lawyer, said there was no need for the court to set a minimum non-parole period, and certainly not the maximum one, as there was a possibility Abdille could be effectively treated.
However, Adbille said Ms Kennedy's comments were "another assault".
"I'm not mad. I was not brought here as a mental health patient."
Abdille had 27 previous convictions and was on bail for threatening to kill and possession of a weapon at the time of the hijacking.
The captain, first officer and a woman passenger were all cut during the incident; the captain had to have part of a thumb amputated and the first officer received a cut foot. One of the two had since given up flying.
Some passengers believed they were going to die during the incident, and did not want to give victim impact statements as they did not want to relive the incident.
The Court of Appeal judges reserved their decision.