18 Nov 2002

Mutiny trial underway in Vanuatu

5:22 pm on 18 November 2002

The trial of eight senior Vanuatu police officers on mutiny charges is underway in Port Vila.

The eight, including the former actiing police commissioner, Holi Simon, and the former head of the Vanuatu Mobile Force, Api Jack Marikemba, have been charged with mutiny, and inciting mutiny, kidnapping and false imprisonment.

The charges follow the early morning arrests of 15 senior public officials by armed police in early August, several weeks after the appointment of a new police commissioner.

The police had claimed the 15 conspired in that appointment, but the arrests, and the commissioner's appointment, were later quashed by the courts.

The prosecution has indicated it may call around 30 witnesses.