Suspended jail terms over Tahiti land deal

12:46 pm on 8 September 2017

The appeal court in French Polynesia has given suspended 18-month jail sentences to two high profile figures for abusing public funds in a questionable land deal a decade ago.

Emile Vernaudon

Emile Vernaudon Photo: RNZ/ Walter Zweifel

The two are a former top politician Emile Vernaudon and Joinville Pomare, who is the head of the Indigenous Customary Council in Tahiti.

The court in Papeete also ruled that they be deprived of their civic rights for three years.

The two can appeal their conviction in France's highest court.

The court ruling came just a day after the two held a media conference at which they denounced the 1842 colonisation by the French.

They said France had taken away the land and the indigenous people were now living in poverty in social housing.

Mr Pomare said those elected to the territorial assembly had done nothing to help the situation.

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