10 May 2006

French Polynesian murder probe sabotaged from inside - claim

2:42 pm on 10 May 2006

The family of a missing French Polynesian journalist, Jean-Pascal Couraud, says members of the territory's judiciary are interfering with the investigation of what the family now says was an assassination.

Mr Couraud, who was known by the acronym JPK, vanished in Tahiti in 1997 while working as an advisor to an opposition politician.

In late 2004, the family lodged a complaint of murder after a former spy working for the government of the time claimed that the journalist had been kidnapped and drowned off Tahiti.

There has been no official breakthrough in the 18-month investigation but the family says there is no doubt that JPK was killed by employees of the organisation which later became known as the GIP intervention force.

The family says it has received information from various sources and says the investigation is taking place in a climate of fear.

They allege that people well placed within the judiciary are thwarting efforts to get to justice those responsible for JPK's disappearance.