Scandal in French Air Force as Pilots Tie Comrade to Pole at Firing Range and Drop Bombs Around Him

Europe

The French Penal Code punishes acts of hazing (‘bizutage’) with up to six months in prison and a 7,500 euro fine. Until recently, hazing has been seen as a ‘rite of passage’ symbolizing a person’s integration into their peer group, with soldiers, students and workers in some professions subjected to the humiliating and potentially deadly practice.

A group of French Air Force pilots are facing legal repercussions after being accused of tying up a 27-year-old comrade to a pole at a firing range and taking to the skies in fighter jets to rain bullets and bombs around him.

The lawyer says his client was traumatized by the incident and that it continues to haunt him two years on, with the trauma prompting him to file a lawsuit against his colleague at a Marseille court. He added that while “regular practices of humiliating or even violent hazing” in the Air Force are a problem generally, in his client’s case it also cost the state a fortune, given the use of aircraft and munitions involved.

Video and pictures of the incident have reportedly been handed over to prosecutors, with some appearing online.

Tweet reads: “Corsica: Hazing in The Air Force; Photos of the shaming of a pilot assigned to 126th Air Base. 27.03.2019.”

A spokesperson for the French Air Force told reporters that the perpetrators of the hazing incident had already been subjected to “strong sanctions” after the chief of staff found out about it in 2019. The…

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