29 Jul 2005

Concern at slowness of French Polynesian judiciary in Couraud disappearence case

3:25 pm on 29 July 2005

The family of a French Polynesian journalist who disappeared nearly eight years ago has deplored the slowness of the judiciary in dealing with the murder complaint laid more than half a year ago.

Jean-Pascal Couraud vanished in 1997 and was initially believed to have committed suicide.

The case was closed but last year, a former spy working for the GIP presidential security force, Vetea Guilloux, claimed the journalist was kidnapped and drowned off Tahiti.

The journalist's family says it is awaiting a ruling in the appeal brought by Guilloux who was sentenced last year for malicious slander for making the allegation.

The family says questions remain about the possible surveillance of Couraud by spies of the president at the time, Gaston Flosse.

It says there is also testimony of a man who was sacked from the spy cell for refusing to go after a journalist seen to be critical of Mr Flosse.