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France releases Al-Jazeera journalists arrested over drones in Paris

Drones were spotted flying over Paris for two nights running on 24 and 25 February.
Drones were spotted flying over Paris for two nights running on 24 and 25 February. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Three Al-Jazeera journalists who were arrested Wednesday for flying a drone over Paris have been released, a judicial source announced on Thursday. 

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Only one journalist will appear before a magistrate in Paris next week to hear his sentence in a “guilty-plea” procedure.

No charges have been brought against his two colleagues who were arrested with him in the Bois de Boulogne in the west of Paris, according to the same source.

The three journalists working for the Qatar-based satellite TV channel were arrested after drones were spotted flying over the capital for two nights running.

But “there is no relationship between the arrests in the Bois de Boulogne and the drone flights over the city,” another source close to the case said on Wednesday.

The three journalists - two British and one Belgian nationals - aged 34, 52 and 68 were arrested Wednesday around 3:30pm.

The first who works for Al-Jazeera’s Paris bureau received this drone in November from the TV channel’s London bureau. He had recruited the two other independent journalists to help him with this reporting assignment.

The first was operating the drone, the second was filming and the third was supposed to speak in the report.

The journalist operating the drone is the only one who will face charges.

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

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