Penalty upheld for pilot who triggered alert during papal visit to Poland
PR dla Zagranicy
A court on Friday upheld a six-month suspended jail term to a Russian pilot who violated a no-fly ban during a visit by Pope Francis to Poland in 2016.
Photo: xuuxuu/pixabay.com/CC0 Creative Commons
Amid tight security, Polish authorities scrambled two F16 fighter jets when they could not contact the Russian, who had been due to take part in world aerobatics championships in Poland. He had flown in from the neighbouring Czech Republic.
The Russian said he had not known that Pope Francis was visiting Poland for World Youth Day, one of the largest international religious gatherings.
A court in Radom, south of Warsaw, upheld the pilot’s suspended prison sentence as well as an earlier ruling by a lower court that the Russian should pay a fine of PLN 10,000 (USD 2,700, EUR 2,300) for breaching closed air space.
Judge Marcin Kobylski said the Russian had failed to exercise due care.
During a five-day pilgrimage to Poland in 2016, Pope Francis visited the former Nazi German Auschwitz concentration camp, celebrated masses, visited a children's hospital and held a string of meetings with young Catholic faithful from all over the world.