On the night of the crash, police arrested six photographers and one driver. The French police confiscated twenty rolls of film and detained the photographers for 48 hours, the legal limit in France for holding suspects without charging them.
The men were held in prison, interrogated, strip-searched and arrested on suspicion of involuntary homicide and nonassistance to persons in danger. The arrested men were Serge Arnal, 35; Nikola Arsov, 38; Stephan Darman, 32; Jacques Langevin, 44; Christian Martinez, 41; Romauld Rat, 24; and Laszlo Veres, 50. Two anonymous photographers voluntarily turned themselves in on September 18.
The photographers were held with the belief that they caused the accident while taking pictures and then failed to assist the victims after the crash. That belief has been challenged by the presence of the white Fiat Uno which has not yet been found and the fact that a photographer did call for emergency assistance. Rat, (See Paparazzi Tried to Help Dying Princess) who possesses first aid training, has claimed he opened the rear door next to Princess Diana to take her pulse and tell her "Stay calm. Help is on the way." This claim is backed up by the fact that he did not take any photographs of the victims inside the car.
Langevin said of his 48 hours of detainment,"It was humiliating. We're not criminals. But to them, we were the guilty parties, designated in advance." (Authors emphasis)
Tuesday September 2 8:45 PM EDT
PARIS (Reuter) - One of seven photographers probed for manslaughter over the death of Princess Diana in a car crash in Paris bitterly rejected any involvement Tuesday and said he felt trapped.
"Everything seems so absurd and stupid," Jacques Langevin of the Sygma photographic agency told the daily Liberation in an interview to appear Wednesday. "I've the impression of having fallen into a net."
A French judge Tuesday placed Langevin and six other photographers under formal investigation for suspected manslaughter in Sunday's crash which killed Princess Diana, her companion Dodi Al Fayed and their driver.
They were also all probed on suspicion of failing to help people in danger under a "Good Samaritan" law.
Langevin said Sygma called him out to photograph Diana and Al Fayed at the Ritz Hotel Saturday night at what turned out to be their last dinner.
After photographing their departure, he said he decided to drive home in his car, a Golf, rather than join other photographers on motorcycles pursuing the car, a faster Mercedes. By an "incredible chance," he drove along the same route.
Langevin said he arrived about 10 minutes after the crash in a tunnel by the River Seine. By the time he arrived, "the car was surrounded by police, firemen and photographers. Things are happening normally," he said.
He said emergency services had taken out the body of Al Fayed and were trying to revive him and were seeking to help the other victims. He said he learned later that photographers had alerted the emergency services by mobile phone.
"Personally, I have four or five photographs, taken about 15 metres (yards) away, under the eyes of the police who had set up a sort of light barrier," he said.
Langevin said he tried to leave but that he and other photographers still at the scene were abruptly rounded up. "I never thought for a second that we would be held for questioning, far less placed under investigation."
Sygma released a statement Tuesday defending Langevin as a professional who had covered events including the Tiananmen Square massacre in China in 1989.
Accounts of what happened, and whether the photographers were to blame for triggering a dangerous high-speed chase, vary widely. An official blood test showed the driver was three times over the legal drink drive limit.
According to RTL radio, the police report on the accident said several photographers were found at the scene shooting pictures of the wreck with a door open and tried to block the police from coming closer.
One was quoted as telling the police: "Let me do my job. In Sarajevo, the cops let us work. You'd see what it's like if you ever got shot at."
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PARIS (September 3, 1997 09:39 a.m. EDT) -- A photographer who reached into the wreckage of Princess Diana's car to take her pulse has first aid training and was trying to help, his boss said Wednesday, trying to deflect criticism that paparazzi snapped away instead of aiding the bleeding victims.
Photographer Romuald Rat is certified in first aid and CPR, Gamma agency chief editor Didier Contant said.
"We just don't understand the charges," Contant told The Associated Press. "He took her pulse and said, 'Don't move, please. Help is coming.' As soon as help came, he moved back right away."
Rat is among six photographers and a motorcycle driver placed under formal investigation Tuesday as suspects in Diana's death. A judge is considering whether to formally charge them with manslaughter and failing to help a victim in distress.
Rat is free on $16,000 bail but forbidden to work as a journalist while the case is pending. Police accuse him of obstructing the work of the first officers on the scene.
The first police reports indicated paparazzi pushed back the first officer on the scene as he tried to reach the victims.
Until more police arrived to help him, all the officer was able to glimpse of Diana was "a blond head," the daily "Le Figaro" reported, quoting from reports scribbled by investigators 20 minutes after the crash. It did not name the photographers involved.
Investigators are waiting for the sole survivor of the crash, bodyguard Trevor-Rees Jones, to recover enough to tell his story. Jones remained hospitalized in Paris in critical condition. Hospital sources told "Le Figaro" his lips and tongue were torn away.
In London, meanwhile, officials said the capital's huge squares and regal boulevards may not be big enough to hold the throngs of mourners expected at Diana's funeral Saturday. The lines of grieving admirers continued to swell Wednesday, three days after Diana died in Paris.
To accommodate mourners, Buckingham Palace said Wednesday that giant TV screens will be set up in Hyde Park. The palace also announced that the coffin would follow a 77-mile route back to Diana's family home in northwest England to let as many people as possible pause and pay their respects.
Prince William, 15, has insisted on walking behind his mother's coffin in the procession from St. James's to the Abbey, according to the British newspaper "The Sun." A palace spokesman refused to comment, saying it will announce Thursday where the princes will be.
Diana's friends want Elton John to be invited to sing at her funeral. Buckingham Palace officials were to say later Wednesday if he'll be asked; the Times of London reported that some in Buckingham Palace fear it would not set the proper dignified tone.
The Daily Telegraph quoted Italian opera star Luciano Pavarotti, another of Diana's friends, as saying he was invited to sing but is too upset and turned down the invitation.
Early police reports from Paris lend weight to the claim that some among the six photographers and one motorcyclist may not only have failed to assist the victims, but impeded those trying to do so. The seven could be charged with involuntary homicide, among other crimes.
"They pushed back and blocked the officer from coming to the aid of the victims," the police report said, according to Le Figaro.
Rat's lawyer, Philippe Benamou, argued that his client merely checked Diana's pulse when he was taking pictures of the wreckage.
"He took Diana's pulse. He wanted to see if she was dead or alive," the lawyer said. "He saw that she was alive, and police were arriving at the same time. It happened so quickly."
Investigators are examining the photographers' mobile telephones, which electronically record the most recent numbers called, to determine whether they bothered to call police or an ambulance, the newspaper "France-Soir" reported Wednesday.
One of the photographers, Jacques Langevin of the Sygma agency, told The Associated Press today that he felt unfairly roped in with the others and that all were scapegoats.
"I am not a paparazzo," said Langevin, a one-time AP photographer who covered the Tiananmen Square standoff in Beijing and other stories.
"I think the charges are exaggerated. There is enormous government and public pressure," he said. "It's a big soup."
The driver of the car that was carrying Diana and her boyfriend has been accused of speeding and being legally drunk at the time of the crash. Henri Paul's blood-alcohol level was almost four times the legal limit, judicial officials said on customary condition of anonymity.
French radio, citing another driver at the Ritz Hotel where Paul worked, said Wednesday that Paul didn't have the special police-issued license required to drive the armor-plated Mercedes.
In London, Michael Cole, a spokesman for the family, called those reports "entirely false."
Paul was the No. 2 security official at Paris' posh Ritz Hotel, owned by Mohamed Al Fayed -- father of Diana's boyfriend, Dodi, who also died in the crash. Al Fayed joined the legal fray Tuesday by declaring himself a civil party in the case.
Al Fayed has contradicted police sources' comments that the car's speedometer was found stuck at 121 mph -- a strong indication of the car's speed when it crashed. He says it was at zero.
The seven men arrested at the scene were released from custody Tuesday, five on their own recognizance and two on bail. They are suspected of involuntary homicide and injuries, and failing to aid the victims, as required under France's "Good Samaritan" law.
If convicted, they could receive up to five years in prison and a fine of $83,000.
Those under formal investigation are: Nikola Arsov, of the Sipa agency; Langevin, of Sygma; Laslo Veres, a free-lancer; Stephane Darmon, a motorcyclist for Gamma; Serge Arnal, of the Stills agency; Christian Martinez, of Angeli; and Rat, of Gamma.
Diana assasination exposed
Diana first Doctor
Diana killed by specialists
Diana Press Reports
Three more photographers detained
The People report
Diana was truly happy with Dodi
The Blood Test
Diana Finished Off
Interview With Diana
Diana Was Unconcious
Diana Under Surveillance
The Fiat Uno
Diana was killed by MI5
Henri Paul's Biography
Dianas last words
Man Arrested over Murder Claims
Medical Expert Opinions
Outtakes from BBC Diana Interview
Diana's Engagement Ring
What Happened When
Diana was warned
Why Diana had to Die