France: Musician attacked by airport police



Musician attacked by airport security officers

Tighter anti-terror security causes problems for touring musicians because their expensive musical instruments are not always allowed on the plane as carry-on baggage. In Paris, a musician had his arm broken by violent airport police officers because he insisted on taking his instrument case onboard, reports

On 9 September 2006 four police officers threw Russian-American trumpet player Valery Ponomarev to the floor, kicked and punched him, twisted his arm back and broke it, dragged him into a room where he was interrogated until, six hours later, he was allowed to see a doctor and was later operated on.

Reason: The musician insisted on carrying his priceless trumpet and fluegelhorn onboard as hand-luggage on his flight from Paris to New York since he would never trust it to come out of a baggage hold intact. This was reported by Mondomix’s editor, Daniel Brown, in the English editorial of’s October issue. (Read the full story by clicking on the link below).

Valery Ponomarev has travelled the world with this same instrument case in his hand, including on the same Air India flight he took a few days earlier from New York to Paris. He now has had to cancel dozens of concerts. Doctors will take a metal plate out of his arm in January, and it will take months before he can get back to professional level.

The European Commission recently moved to harmonise the on-flight hand luggage rules that vary according to the airlines or, as Ponomarev found out, the employees that apply them. From next spring, cameras and musical instruments will again be allowed in airplane cabins, while new restrictions will be made on the size of bags and liquids allowed onboard.

Source – October 2006:
‘Musicians : fly through Paris at your own peril’

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