31 Oct 2005

Convicted French Polynesian spy to appeal in Paris

3:11 pm on 31 October 2005

Reports from French Polynesia say a former spy of the GIP intervention force, Vetea Guilloux, is to make an appeal in Paris against his conviction for lying about the disappearance of a Tahiti journalist eight years ago.

Last week, Guilloux was convicted in an appeal court in Papeete for lying but the court dropped the criminal slander sentence.

Guilloux had claimed that he witnessed the abduction of the journalist, Jean Pascal Couraud, who vanished in December 1997.

While the court found that he had lied, it didn't uphold the malicious slander conviction for Guilloux claiming that fellow GIP members had told him they had drowned the journalist off Tahiti.

Following Guilloux's testimony last year, the journalist's family lodged a complaint of murder against unknown persons - a case which is still being investigated.

The opposition Tahoeraa Huiraatira has welcomed last week's conviction, saying the ruling coalition had been using the lies in its election campaign.