Lawyer for kidnapping suspects in French Polynesia claims judicial scandal

10:00 am on 18 December 2017

The lawyer for two French Polynesians suspected of kidnapping a journalist 20 years ago says the case against them is a judicial scandal.

No caption

Photo: 123rf

The lawyer Francois Quinquis told Tahiti Nui TV that the two are being pursued for the 1997 disappearance of Jean-Pascal Couraud for possibly political reasons.

Mr Quinquis said he believed there is zero chance of his clients being subject to a jury trial.

Four years ago the suspects Tino Mara and Tutu Manate, who worked for the now disbanded GIP militia of Gaston Flosse, were charged with murder, but a year later the charge was altered to kidnapping.

Meanwhile, the lawyer working for the family of Jean-Pascal Couraud said a jury trial will take place.

He said then people will find out who acted, who knew and who kept silent.

The probe into the journalist's disappearance was launched in 2004 after a former spy Vetea Guilloux claimed Jean-Pascal Couraud's body had been sunk off Tahiti.

The former spy was then immediately convicted and jailed for slander.