9 Jul 2009

Call to rehabilitate French Polynesia's Pouvanaa a Oopa

3:08 pm on 9 July 2009

The French Polynesian assembly has voted unanimously for a resolution asking France to rehabilitate the Tahitian independence campaigner, Pouvanaa a Oopa.

France sent Pouvanaa into exile in 1958 after accusing him of trying to burn down Papeete.

He was jailed for eight years and banned from returning to Tahiti for 15 years.

However, 10 years later he was pardoned and allowed to return to Tahiti where in 1971 he was elected to become the territory's member of the French Senate.

After his family failed in a bid to revisit his case in 1988, the assembly now wants France's highest court to open the files that led to his convictions amid claims by a commission in his support that he was the victim of a partial process.

His death in 1977 was followed the same year by Oscar Temaru forming his pro-independence movement.

A statue in his honour is in front of the territorial assembly.