TAHITI COURT PENALIZES EX-LEADER OF INTERVENTON FORCE

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Puputauki to serve one year prison term for violating labor laws

PAPEÉTE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, May 6, 2011) – In Tahiti, a Papeete Appeals Court sentenced Léonard "Rere" Puputauki, the former head of the disbanded GIP (Groupement d'Intervention de la Polynésie) intervention force, to a year in prison Thursday because he violated local labor laws.

Puputauki's lawyer, Atty. Vincent Dubois said he might challenge the decision in the French Court of Cassation.

Dubois said the decision was unfair if you compare it to similar cases in Europe.

During the 2003-2005 period, Puputauki used GIP members to transfer commercial tuna fishing boats from Asia to Tahiti.

Members of the government department were then working for what was in fact a private business.

Puputauki has also been prosecuted in the case of a September 2003 ship capsizing that caused the death of seven persons.

A Papeete Appeals Court sentenced him to a four-year prison term, with two years suspended, in that case, in April 2010.

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