French pilot says he was tied to shooting target in hazing ritual – fr

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French pilot says he was tied to shooting target in hazing ritual – fr


The French Air Force pilot alleged he was tied to a target on a shooting range as fighter jets flew overhead and fired ammunition.

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A French Air Force pilot filed a criminal complaint alleging that, as part of a hazing ritual, he was tied to a target on a firing range as fighter jets flew overhead from his head and fired ammunition, his lawyer told Reuters on Saturday.

The complaint did not identify any of the people alleged to have carried out the hazing, nor did it indicate how many of them were involved. Reuters was unable to independently establish the identity of those responsible for the incident.

Colonel Stéphane Spet, spokesman for the French Air Force, said an internal investigation had been ordered by the Air Force command and those responsible had been punished.

The most severe sanction was the barracks restriction, Spet said. He did not say how many people received this punishment, nor for how many days.

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Spet said the pilot’s safety was never in danger.

The pilot said in the complaint, which was seen by Reuters, that the hazing occurred in March 2019, shortly after arriving at a combat combat unit at Solenzara Air Base on the Mediterranean island. French Corsican.

The pilot had a hood over his head and was forced into the back of a pickup truck by several colleagues who drove him to the firing range, according to the complaint.

Photos, included in the complaint, showed a man in military fatigues with his legs and hands tied, strapped to the shooting range target with sturdy nylon straps.

Video footage, cited in the complaint and provided to Reuters by the pilot’s lawyer, Frédéric Berna, also showed fighter jets making several low passes nearby.

The complaint alleges that, during some of these passages, the pilot attached to the target could hear the sound of live ammunition fired from the aircraft.

Spet did not dispute the authenticity of the footage, but said it gave the mistaken impression that the plane was directing fire at the pilot who was strapped to the target.

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He said the gunfire the pilot heard came from aircraft participating in a training exercise at a different location and that the ammunition closest to him was about one kilometer (0.6 mile) away.

Berna said her client did not want her name disclosed publicly due to privacy concerns. Reuters saw the pilot’s name in the complaint.

Berna said the photos and video footage cited in the complaint were filmed by members of the service present and the footage was later shared in a WhatsApp group chat. Members of the focus group then shared the footage with the pilot filing the complaint, the lawyer said.

Asked why his client has waited until now to file his complaint, Berna said the pilot initially denied the gravity of his experience and did not want to challenge the military authorities.

He raised the issue with his superiors at the end of 2020, the lawyer said, and decided to file a criminal complaint when he felt the military was not responding adequately.

Spet said the Air Force command was made aware of the incident in January this year and ordered an internal investigation.

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Measures going as far as the restriction of barracks

“The pilots responsible for this staging were severely punished in April 2021, with measures extending to the restriction of barracks,” Spet said.

Berna said neither he nor his client was aware of any sanction imposed on service personnel as a result of the incident.

In a separate statement, the Air Force said it condemns any action that harms the physical or mental well-being of its personnel and will cooperate with any criminal investigation.

A spokeswoman for the Solenzara base referred Reuters to the Air Force statement.

The complaint was filed with the Marseille city prosecutor’s office on May 5, according to Berna. The lawyer said his client was still in the Air Force and served as a pilot but was no longer a fighter pilot.

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