12 Mar 2010

Vanuatu Coroner says jail inmate's disappearance ominous

8:25 am on 12 March 2010

The Vanuatu Coroner says the country's police have to reveal what they know about missing prisoner, Paul Shem.

Mr Shem was one of number of jail inmates who escaped in February last year, prompting a major police exercise called Operation Klinap.

Don Wiseman has more:

"One prisoner, John Bule, later died from injuries after being interrogated on his recapture during Operation Klinap. That death has prompted strong criticism from the Coroner, Justice Nevin Dawson, and calls from Transparency International for the Police Commissioner, Joshua Bong, to resign. In the same report Mr Dawson said the disappearance of Paul Shem is ominous. He says if Mr Shem is running free the police have a duty to locate and arrest him, but if the police know this cannot be done for any reason, the public is entitled to know why. Mr Dawson wants an independent inquiry to find out why Operation Klinap stopped before all the prisoners were recaptured and why no effort has been made in the year since to locate Mr Shem. He asks whether an inquest into the suspected death of Mr Shem is necessary."