19 Nov 2002

Mutiny trial under way in Vanuatu

11:20 am on 19 November 2002

The trial of eight senior Vanuatu police officers on mutiny charges is under way in Port Vila.

The eight, including the former acting police commissioner, Holi Simon, and the former head of the Vanuatu Mobile Force, Api Jack Marikemba, have been charged with mutiny, and inciting mutiny, kidnapping and false imprisonment.

The charges follow the early morning arrests of 15 senior public officials by armed police in early August, several weeks after the appointment of a new police commissioner.

The police had claimed the 15 conspired in that appointment, but the arrests, and the commissioner's appointment, were later quashed by the courts.

The prosecution has indicated it may call about 30 witnesses.