23 Aug 2010

Tahiti jail lacks designation to hold convicts - claim

1:58 pm on 23 August 2010

There is a claim in French Polynesia that the premises used to hold convicts are not designated as a prison.

A businessman, Rene Hoffer, who has been held at Nuutania jail for two months for contempt of court, says its official designation is for remand prisoners only.

He says this means that there is no proper prison in Tahiti.

"The jail of Tahiti is a maison d'arret - an arrest house. It's not a jail in the documents which means that in a maison d'arret you can only have prevenus - people who have not been judged."

Rene Hoffer had been jailed in June for contempt of court for a year but was let go when his appeal was heard last week in a case centering on import duties.

The building is considered to be among the most overcrowded prison facilities run by France.