4 Apr 2008

French Polynesian opposition welcomes Vernaudon's release

10:07 am on 4 April 2008

French Polynesia's opposition To Tatou Aia coalition has welcomed the release of the mayor of Mahina, Emile Vernaudon, who had been jailed for four months.

Mr Vernaudon had been in prison since December as part of an investigation into alleged fraud and theft during his time as government minister.

The To Tatou Aia, which is the local partner of France's ruling UMP Party, noted that he was held in the local prison which is in a poor state.

Mr Vernaudon missed the territorial election because of his detention but last month he became the first jailed person under French jurisdiction to be elected mayor.

He is free on bail awaiting further court appearances.

His corruption convictions and suspended jail sentence related to other cases are all being appealed.