Review Of Former Tahiti Politician’s Conviction Unlikely

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Edouard Fritch told by French officials new elements needed

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, August 5, 2013) – The president of French Polynesia’s assembly says it appears unlikely that France will review the conviction of the late politician Pouvanaa a Oopa.

After a controversial trial in 1959 for allegedly fomenting unrest, Pouvanaa a Oopa was jailed for eight years and exiled for 15, before being pardoned and allowed to return to Tahiti in 1968.

In February, an extraordinary sitting of the territorial assembly in Tahiti unanimously passed a resolution asking Paris to review the case - 25 years after his family first called for a retrial.

But Edouard Fritch, who has been in Paris, has told the Tahititoday website that he has been advised by justice officials that it won’t suffice to establish that the trial was unfair.

He says new elements have to be presented casting doubt on Pouvanaa’s culpability.

Last year, the then French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, gave a special televised pre-election address to Tahiti, saying the files about Pouvanaa would be opened to allow for a possible re-trial.

Today a statue in his honor is in front of the territorial assembly and a key street in Papeete has been named after him.

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