3 Apr 2006

PINA condemns Vanuatu police action against newspaper publisher

10:00 am on 3 April 2006

The Pacific Island News Association or PINA says it condemns in the strongest possible terms, police actions against the publisher of the Vanuatu Daily Post.

Marc Neil-Jones was arrested on a charge of careless driving by 7 police officers who are also members of the Vanuatu Police rugby team.

Mr Neil-Jones was released five hours later after Supreme Court judge Ham Lison Bulu quashed the arrest warrant to have him remanded for 6 weeks.

His photographer was also allegedly assaulted by the police.

In a letter to Vanuatu's police commissioner, PINA says the assault and what it called the inappropriate action were entirely unacceptable.

It has called on the police to apologise to Mr Neil Jones and his photographer.

Mr Neil Jones says it was clear the police were retaliating against the Daily Posts call for the National Rugby Union to discipline the Police rugby team for their violent behaviour on the field.