19 May 2009

Paris court to hear Tahiti Pacifique defamation case

1:55 pm on 19 May 2009

A French court is tomorrow due to hear the defamation case brought by the French state prosecutor's office in Papeete against the publisher of the Tahiti Pacifique monthly, Alex du Prel.

The case relates to an article published two years ago about the 1997 disappearance of a Tahitian journalist, Jean-Pascal Couraud.

Investigations into his alleged murder by a militia of the then French Polynesian president, Gaston Flosse, are in their fifth year.

Mr du Prel was allowed to testify via a video link in 2007 after first being told to fly at his own expense from Tahiti to France for a brief court appearance.

By lodging the case in Paris and not in Tahiti, Mr du Prel alleged that the French state prosecutor's office was using the judicial machinery in a bid to silence his publication.