16 Sep 2009

Jailed New Caledonian unionists to take appeal to Paris

1:12 pm on 16 September 2009

New Caledonia's jailed USTKE unionists have decided to take their case to the highest court in France after the Court of Appeal in Noumea had upheld their jailing.

Radio New Caledonia reports that this comes after the six unionists, including their leader Gerard Jodar, lost their appeal to have their convictions thrown out.

On Tuesday, the court confirmed their jailing last June but shortened their sentences from 12 months to nine months.

They had been convicted for their role during the May clashes at Noumea's domestic airport when riot police battled hundreds of unionists during a strike at the local airline.

An USTKE leader has told local radio that the union doesn't accept the ruling, saying the unionists are in prison not for what they did but for who they are.

The union has again suspended its general strike, and suggested taking its objection to the court decision to the European Human Rights Court and the International Labour Organisation.