Al Jazeera Journalist Fined but Paris Drone Flights Continue

RedmanAn Al Jazeera journalist has been fined €1,000 (£725;$1,120) for flying a drone in Paris last week in the midst of a security alert sparked by unexplained drone sightings across the city.

Tristan Redman, 34, from the Qatar-based network al-Jazeera, was arrested last month in the Bois de Boulogne park, on the western edge of the French capital, along with two other journalists.

The two others were released and Redman pleaded guilty to flying a drone over the capital, which is illegal under French law.

Their arrest followed two nights of unexplained drone sightings over the French capital, although a source with knowledge of the case said the journalists were not involved in the earlier incidents.

Those mysterious sightings were made near the US embassy, not far from the Invalides military museum, the Eiffel tower and several major thoroughfares leading in and out of the French capital, police said.

Redman declined to comment after the verdict but his lawyer, Francis Szpiner, said the punishment was “disproportionate, even if people are on edge in the current context”. The lawyer added: “These were just journalists who wanted to do their job.”

Redman received the drone from the station’s London bureau in November and was compiling a package on drone flights with the help of two freelancers, one British and one Belgian.

Mr Redman and two colleagues arrested with him are not believed to have been linked to the other drone sightings.

The latest mysterious drone sighting in Paris was reported on Monday night near the Place de la Republique.

According to France TV, the drone was spotted by a policeman guarding the offices of Liberation newspaper.

Flying drones over Paris without a licence is banned by law and no night flights are allowed over the city.

Al Jazeera said the team had been filming a report on the “recent mystery drones”.Mr Redman was the only one to be charged. He had faced a maximum one-year prison term and a potential fine of €75,000.

Sources: BBC, The Guardian

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