20 Jun 2019

Temaru trial opens in French Polynesia

10:52 am on 20 June 2019

The trial has opened of French Polynesia's pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru over the alleged abuse of public funds to support Radio Tefana.

Oscar Temaru

Oscar Temaru Photo: RNZI

Mr Temaru is standing trial in the criminal court in Tahiti in his role as mayor of Faaa whose administration funded the community radio station.

Two others, Heinui Lecaill and Vito Maamaatuaiahutapu, are also standing trial over the alleged use of Radio Tefana as a propaganda tool for Mr Temaru's Tavini Huiraatira party.

On the opening day, two bids by the defence to challenge the constitutionality of the proceedings were thrown out.

The court case is expected to last three days.

Hundreds of people were at the court in Papeete after Mr Temaru's party called on its supporters to hold a peaceful protest.

If convicted, Mr Temaru could lose his right to run in the local election next year.

Last year, he lost his seat in the assembly after his campaign accounts had been rejected by Paris.

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