French police on Wednesday detained three Al-Jazeera journalists for illegally flying a drone from a Paris park. Their arrests come as authorities are investigating sightings of drones flying over key Parisian landmarks for two consecutive nights, France 24 reports.
The journalists — all foreign nationals — were taken into custody on Wednesday afternoon after police saw a drone flying in the Bois de Boulogne woods in western Paris, Paris prosecutors’ spokeswoman, Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre, said.
A judicial source added that “the first was piloting the drone, the second was filming and the third was watching”.
Officials with Qatar-based Al-Jazeera did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The journalists can be held for a maximum of 24 hours under French law. Flying drones without a license in France is illegal and carries a maximum one-year prison sentence and a 75,000 euro fine.
Wednesday’s incident comes on the heels of two consecutive nights of unidentified drones flying over the Eiffel Tower, the French Senate, the Gare de l’Est train station and other key landmarks in the city, including the US embassy.
An inquiry has been launched into the incidents.