29 Mar 2007

Former French Polynesian president faces race hate case

7:05 pm on 29 March 2007

French Polynesia's criminal court has heard a complaint from a retired teacher who has accused the former president, Oscar Temaru, of provoking racial discrimination.

This follows comments in Tahitian and broadcast on local radio last September during which Mr Temaru warned the territory of an invasion of people who are no good and are flotsam of all sorts.

The wording in Tahitian has been at the centre of the dispute, with the plaintiff's lawyer saying it amounts to a transgression that should make Mr Temaru ineligible for public office.

Mr Temaru's lawyer says there is no case to answer as the word used by Mr Temaru was part of the language spoken by the veteran nationalist leader, Pouvanaa a Oopa.

A decision is expected in late June.