Vanuatu Journalist Arrested For Sedition Released

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No formal complaint filed over controversial social media post

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 8, 2013) – Police in Vanuatu have dropped all charges against a journalist over a seditious comment he made about the government on the internet.

Gratien Tiona, also known as Gratien Molsoul, was arrested on Monday after allegedly making a comment on Facebook saying he hoped an aircraft carrying the prime minister and his cabinet would crash.

He was charged with terrorist activity, seditious publication and making threats.

But after being detained for 30 hours, the public prosecutor has ordered Mr. Tiona's release after it emerged that no formal complaint had been made about his comment.

Vanuatu Independent editor Tony Wilson has told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat, his employee never expected the comment to cause so much controversy.

"(Gratien Tiona) was pretty shocked when he came out of the police cell yesterday afternoon, and indicated it had been a pretty unpleasant time in his life," he said.

"I don't think whatever he said he ever thought would end up leaving him in a cell and being the first person in this country to be charged with so-called terrorist activity."

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