Europe

Paris police arrest Al-Jazeera journalists over drone

  • 25 February 2015
  • From the section Europe
General view of Paris Image copyright Reuters
Image caption There were five drone sightings over Tuesday night, including one near the Eiffel Tower, but there is no link yet to the Al-Jazeera arrests

Three Al-Jazeera journalists have been arrested for the alleged illegal flying of a drone in Paris after being spotted by police in the Bois de Boulogne area.

A spokesman for prosecutors said there was "no relationship for the moment" between the arrests and mysterious drone flights over the city at night.

Al-Jazeera said the journalists had been "filming a report on the city's recent mystery drones".

Drones were spotted over city landmarks for a second night running on Tuesday.

Flying drones over Paris without a licence is banned by law.

The offence carries a maximum one-year prison sentence and a €75,000 (£55,000; $85,000) fine.

A judicial source told AFP news agency of the three people arrested: "The first was piloting the drone, the second was filming and the third was watching."

The names and nationalities of the journalists have not been released. Al-Jazeera is a Qatar-based satellite TV channel.

It is against the law for any aircraft to fly lower than 6,000m (19,700ft) over central Paris. Flying any aircraft under that ceiling - including drones, police helicopters and air ambulances - requires permission from city authorities.

Flying a drone at night is banned completely.

In October, a 24-year-old Israeli tourist was fined €400 (£293) and spent a night in jail after flying a drone over the city's historic Hotel Dieu hospital and a police station

Unidentified drones have been spotted across the country in the past year, most recently over the presidential palace and a bay in Brittany that houses nuclear submarines, as well as over nuclear power plants.

The French authorities have opened an inquiry into the flights but government spokesman Stephane Le Foll ruled out any security concern.

"There is nothing to worry about," he told reporters.

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