2 Feb 2009

Chirac refuses questioning over 1997 French Polynesian affair

2:27 pm on 2 February 2009

A French newspaper says the former French President, Jacques Chirac, will refuse to be questioned by a judge who is investigating the 1997 disappearance of a French Polynesian journalist, Jean-Pascal Couraud.

According to the Canard Enchaine, Mr Chirac's lawyer says he will invoke his constitutional rights to immunity for the period he served as head of state.

This comes as the judge is reported to be in Paris this month for further questioning over the Couraud case which was opened in 2004 when his family alleged he was murdered.

As part of the investigation, the French defence ministry has declassified some secret service documents related to Mr Chirac's affairs.

Last month, French Polynesia's veteran politician, Gaston Flosse, announced that he had taken legal action against several media outlets after they reported that a letter was found in his possession detailing Mr Couraud's abduction and killing.

Mr Flosse says the letter was a fake.