Afrique Ameriques Asie Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
France16 December 2005

Disappearance of journalist still unsolved eight years on

Reporters Without Borders today urged the judiciary in French Polynesia to investigate how and why investigative journalist Jean-Pascal Couraud, editor of the daily Les Nouvelles de Tahiti, vanished eight years ago today, in 1997, and said it could not accept a Papeete court’s dismissal of the case in June 2002.

New evidence, suggesting he was murdered, had surfaced since then, the worldwide press freedom organisation said. Couraud’s body has never been found.

Vetea Guilloux, a then member of the armed Intervention Group (GIP), a police force answering to the former president, Gaston Flosse, said in October 2004 he had witnessed the journalist’s execution by two other GIP members who then threw the weighted body into a lagoon. No official attempt has been made to find it as a result of this claim.

Guilloux’ statement led to speculation about the involvement of president Gaston Flosse, of whom Couraud was a well-known critic. Guilloux was then arrested and sentenced in November 2004 to a year in prison, including nine months suspended, for lies and insults. He was later conditionally freed after withdrawing his claim. The prosecutor-general has refused to reopen the enquiry into Couraud’s disappearance, saying the truth of what Guilloux said could not be verified.

Couraud’s family was granted interested-party status in the case and on 10 December 2004 filed a suit against person(s) unknown for murder, in protest against the prosecutor’s decision. The suit was heard on 22 February 2005 by investigating magistrate Anne Barruol.

A support committee set up by one of the journalist’s brothers in December 2004 keeps up to date with developments in the enquiry, which has made very little progress.

Reporters Without Borders backs the family in its fight to discover what happened to Jean-Pascal Couraud.




  In this country
29 May - France
Regrettable decision by appeal court to lift ban on magazine only if offending photo is covered up
12 May - France
TV reporter cleared of inciting teenager in body piercing “suspension”
2 April - France
“Dangerous trend” condemned after anti-crime unit questions four journalists over Sarkozy video
26 March - France
Two website journalists summoned for questioning about Sarkozy video
4 March - France
Anger over new case of journalists being treated as “police auxiliaries or even criminals”

in the annual report
France - Annual Report 2008
France - Annual report 2007
France - 2006 Annual report

Europe press releases
4 June - Kosovo
Rrokum TV station still excluded by national broadcasting network
2 June - Ukraine
Potential witness’s death deals severe blow to probe into journalist’s murder
2 June - Turkey
Woman journalist held for past five weeks on baseless charge of link to armed group
2 June - Russia
Journalist seeks asylum in Finland after being convicted for prison torture articles
28 May - Azerbaijan
Court breaks law by refusing to release journalist on health grounds

Reports
5 February 2009 - Bulgaria
“Resignation or resistance, Bulgaria’s embattled press hesitates”
28 January 2009 - Russia
Fact-finding visit : Moscow double murder may have been linked to November attack on local newspaper editor
27 June 2008 - Turkey
Investigation report into the detention of journalist Haci Bogatekin, imprisoned for more than two months and facing ten and a half years in prison
archives

Sign the petitions
Uzbekistan
Jusuf Ruzimuradov

Europe archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives