United Kingdom

French pilot 'was tied to a target and had fighter jets open fire near him as part of hazing ritual'

A French pilot has filed a legal complaint after being subjected to a traumatic hazing ritual in which he was tied to a target and had fighter jets open fire around him.

The unnamed man had just been posted to an airbase in the south of the island of Corsica in March 2019 when he was grabbed by colleagues and tied up with adhesive tape.

After having a bag put over his head, the recruit in his 30s was then transported to a live-fire target range, tied to a target, and then heard fighter jets open fire and drop munitions around him for 20 minutes, according to French media.

The man's lawyer, Frederic Berna, said he had lodged a legal complaint over the incident at a court in the city of Marseille.

Fighter jets opened fire and dropped munitions around the recruit for 20 minutes during the ordeal

They could eventually lead to charges of deliberately endangering someone's life and aggravated violence.

Video and pictures of the hooded and motionless victim, in which the perpetrators are said to be clearly visible, has been handed over to prosecutors.

The revelations come just months after the conviction of three French soldiers over a brutal initiation ceremony at the country's most prestigious military academy.

The men were found guilty of manslaughter in January over the death of a young recruit who drowned at the Saint-Cyr academy in 2012.

The 24-year-old victim had been asked to swim through swampy water in the middle of the night, weighed down by equipment, to the sound of Wagner's 'Ride of the Valkyries'.

Asked about the allegations in Corsica, a spokesman for the French air force told AFP that an investigation had been launched once the chief-of-staff learned about the incident in May 2019.

The unnamed man had just been posted to an airbase in the south of the island of Corsica (pictured) in March 2019 when the hazing happened

'Strong sanctions' had been decided against the perpetrators, the spokesman said, without specifying the punishment or the ranks of those implicated.

'The air force condemns any activity that could cause phyical or psychological damage to its personnel,' he added.

Bullying and humiliating initiation ceremonies, known as hazing, are common in armed forces around the world and have been linked to mental health problems, suicides and sometimes murder.

A Russian soldier was handed a 24-year prison term in January this earlier after gunning down eight of his colleagues in 2019 who he said had made his life 'hell'.

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