30 Jul 2014

Another Tahiti pardon request

2:33 pm on 30 July 2014

The mayor of Papara in French Polynesia has joined the president, Gaston Flosse, in asking Francois Hollande for a presidential pardon after France's highest court convicted them and others of corruption.

Bruno Sandras, who used to be a member of the French National Assembly, was given a suspended jail sentence and also ordered to vacate his office for three years.

This comes as the French High Commissioner in Tahiti, Lionel Beffre, is defying the Paris court by refusing to deliver its verdict.

Without the notification being served, Flosse and Sandras remain in office.

Mr Beffre has justified his inaction by saying Flosse has lodged an appeal for a pardon.

The opposition has described the situation as grotesque.

The High Commissioner has since been reported to police for interfering with the judicial process by failing to deliver the ruling, which the court had sent him last week.

Flosse claims he is innocent, and the presidency has accused the judiciary of ignoring the outcome of last year's election, which Flosse won.

Flosse was convicted three months before the election but could stand because he had immediately appealed in France's highest court.