13 Jan 2009

French high commissioner faces Tahiti court over insult

11:27 am on 13 January 2009

The French high commissioner in French Polynesia, Adolphe Colrat, is due in court today for allegedly infringing on the dignity of one of his employees last year.

Mr Colrat had told the employee he should consult a veterinarian after the man asked to see a doctor because of a sore back.

Mr Colrat says the remark was meant to be ironic but a complaint has been lodged that has also been endorsed by the French Polynesian Human Rights League.

In his capacity as French Polynesia's senator, Gaston Flosse has also written to President Nicolas Sarkozy to ask for a French condemnation of the incident.

Mr Flosse says the French government's silence is a sign of support for the high commissioner and a refusal to admit that the comment was insulting.

He says such a statement would be unacceptable in France.