3 Nov 2006

New testimony about disappearance of French Polynesian journalist

2:29 pm on 3 November 2006

The family of a French Polynesian journalist who vanished nine years ago says there is more testimony to corroborate their claim that he was murdered by members the GIP intervention force.

The family lodged a complaint with police for alleged murder nearly two years ago after a former GIP spy, Vetea Guilloux, claimed that Jean-Pascal Couraud had been kidnapped and drowned off Tahiti.

An investigation has been under way for nearly two years but the family has been told by sources that the investigation is being sabotaged from within the judiciary and that phones are being tapped.

The journalist's oldest brother, Philippe Couraud, says recently more people have come forward to share what they know about the journalist's fate, in particular a former GIP employee who gave a detailed account.

"He gave us some more details about which boat, in which boat they killed Jean-Pascal, and lots of things like this. And this guy was really, really afraid. And he told he had lots of visit of GIP people to ask him not to talk."

Philippe Couraud says the man in question has now retracted the account and even denies having been employed by the GIP.

Vetea Guilloux, who made the original claim of a GIP murder, is to be retried in France for allegedly malicious slander after the highest criminal court in Paris threw out his conviction in Tahiti.