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French pilot lodged legal complaint over allegations Air Force colleagues tied him to a target and ordered fighter jets to open fire around him in a terrifying “ritual hazing “.
The driver, who has not been named, claims he was tied up, blindfolded and bundled up in the back of a van before being driven at breakneck speed to a secret location on the Mediterranean island of Corsica in 2019.
Pretty much removed from the vehicle, he was strapped to a pole with a red cross placed over his head at Solenzara Air Base, the complaint read.
He then heard what sounded like fighter jets open fire and drop shells around him for 20 minutes, with ammunition landing at an estimated distance of 500 meters (approximately 1,640 feet).
The complaint states that “mock shots” were also fired directly at the victim.
The 30-year-old pilot is now suing the Air Force for “aggravated voluntary violence” and “deliberately endangering others” by “professionals, soldiers and senior officers”.
The complaint alleges that two superiors addressed “sarcastic remarks” to him before forcing the pilot to inflate himself and wear an inflatable sea overflight suit, raise his arms and pose as a “human clock”.
After hearing the sound of fighter jet engines, the complaint alleges that the pilot realized he had been taken to a live fire range north of the base.
After 20 minutes, unidentified members untied him and told him to join the vehicle by jumping to his feet while his legs were taped, the complaint says.
“They played Russian roulette with the Mirages,” said one of his lawyers Silvio Rossi-Arnaud.
Those allegedly involved were quickly identified during the filming of the scene and their posting to a WhatsApp group.
Mr. Rossi-Arnaud declared that the cruel farce was costly for the taxpayer since “an hour of Mirage flight costs € 15,000 in kerosene. They play with high-level military equipment in a monumental waste of public money. “
A spokesman for the French Air and Space Force, Colonel Stéphane Spet, said the images were genuine, but gave the false impression that the plane was directing fire at the pilot who was attached to the target, adding that the closest ammunition. came to him was about a kilometer (0.62 miles).
He told CNN that after an internal investigation, “therefore, firm penalties were imposed, including a barracks restriction, a serious penalty in the career of an officer and a pilot.”
However, Frédéric Berna, another lawyer for the pilot, said he was never informed of the penalties. “They show the total impunity that exists in the air force,” he said.
His client “no longer hoped for anything” in his military career, he said, but “is waiting for justice to recognize him as a victim”. “He hopes that the institution will put an end to these institutionalized hazing practices for future recruits,” he added.