Photojournalists and traveling photographers have had brushes with the law in foreign lands many times, often making the news. This incredible story is how one photographer went from flying his drone to sitting in a windowless Cuban prison cell with no end in sight.
The most important thing to take away from this type of stort is that you must do your research on a country's laws and customs, particularly if you're taking a drone. Many countries have an outright ban on flying drones without governmental approval, and if you're in a strict country when you break those rules, it can end very poorly. Cuba is a country near the top of my list of places to visit, and as Chris Hughes — the imprisoned photographer — says, this shouldn't put you off visiting, but act as a warning to be careful.
Sadly, these sort of mistakes happen and the punishment can seem wildly unreasonable, and far worse than Hughes' experience. A French tourist with a drone, Benjamin Briere, was imprisoned in Iran in 2020 after taking pictures with his drone near the Iran-Turkmenistan border. Briere was accused of all manner of crimes, from espionage to "propaganda against the system". The latter carries a one-year prison sentence, but the former carries the death penalty. As of writing this article, Briere is still in prison in Iran under these charges, which the French government insists there is no evidence of. The location where the French citizen was taking pictures — and was accused of spying — was allegedly in a prohibited area, but even so, the consequences are disproportionate and terrifying.