French pilot says he was tied to a firing target in a hazy ritual

Paris-French Air Force pilot filed criminal accusation alleging that he was tied to a shooting range target as part of a hazy ritual while a fighter flew overhead and fired munitions. , His lawyer told Reuters on Saturday.

The complaint did not identify any of the people alleged to have performed the haze, or stated how many of them were involved. Reuters was unable to independently establish the identity of the person responsible for the case.

Colonel Stephen Spet, a French Air Force spokesman, said the internal investigation was ordered by Air Force Command and the responsible person was punished.

The most severe punishment was restrictions on barracks, Spet said. He didn’t say how many people were punished or how many days.

Spet said the pilot’s safety was not compromised.

In a complaint seen by Reuters, pilots said the haze occurred in March 2019, shortly after arriving at the fighter unit at the Solenzara Air Force Base on Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea, France.

According to the complaint, the pilot put a hood on his head and was pushed behind the pickup truck by several colleagues and headed for the shooting range.

The photo included in the complaint showed a man in military uniform with his legs and hands tied to a shooting range target with a sturdy nylon strap.

The video footage quoted in the complaint and provided to Reuters by pilot lawyer Frederick Berna also showed a fighter making some low passes nearby.

Complaints claim that during some of these passes, the pilot associated with the target was able to hear the sound of live ammunition fired from the aircraft.

French pilots led to firing targets in hazy rituals
The photo taken by Reuters on May 8, 2021 is said to have been taken at the Solenzara Air Force Base in Corsica, France, in March 2019. A forced pilot who complained in the haze. (Via Frederick Berna via Reuters)

Spet did not disagree with the authenticity of the image, but he said it gave the false impression that the aircraft was firing at a pilot bound to the target.

He said the shots heard by the pilot were from an aircraft that was conducting training exercises elsewhere, and the closest ammunition round to him was about 1 km (0.6 miles).

Berna said clients don’t want to reveal their name because of privacy concerns. Reuters saw the pilot’s name in a complaint.

According to Berna, the photos and video footage quoted in the complaint were taken by the service members in attendance, and the images were later shared in WhatsApp group chat. Later, members of the group chat shared the image with the pilot complaining, the lawyer said.

Asked why his client had been waiting to file a complaint, Berna initially denied the pilot was of the significance of what he had experienced and said he did not want to challenge military authorities. Stated.

He raised the issue with his boss at the end of 2020 and decided to file a criminal accusation when he felt the military was not responding properly, lawyers said.

Spet said Air Force Command was informed of the incident in January this year and ordered an internal investigation.

“The pilot responsible for staging this was severely punished in April 2021 and took steps that extended to barracks restrictions,” Spet said.

Berna said neither he nor his client knew anything about the punishment imposed on service personnel for the case.

In another statement, the Air Force condemned behavior that harmed the physical or mental health of its staff and said it would cooperate in criminal investigations.

A spokesman for Solenzara base introduced a statement from the Air Force to Reuters.

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

Lucian Libert