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Investigative journalist's disappearance becomes murder case in Tahiti

Facebook/Jean-Pascal Couraud

The following is a CPJ blog post by Jean-Paul Marthoz, CPJ Senior Adviser:

Since Jean-Pascal Couraud's disappearance in mid-December 1997 his friends had been fighting to debunk the notion that he had committed suicide. In 2004 they had thought they could prove that the 37-year-old muckraker had been a victim of foul play. Vetea Guilloux, a member of the local militia Groupe d'intervention de Polynésie (GIP), had alleged that two of his colleagues had killed the investigative journalist. He soon retracted his claim, apparently fearing retaliation.

But on June 25, 2013 more than 15 years after the fact, in a move that rocked paradisiacal French Polynesia, a Papeete instruction judge, Jean-François Redonnet, indicted Tino Mara and Tutu Manate, two members of GIP for "the abduction, sequestration, and murder" of the journalist. According to new testimony from Vetea Guilloux, given in December 2012, Jean-Pascal Couraud was seized by GIP members, forced on a small boat, brutally interrogated, and "accidentally" drowned. His body has never been found.

Read the full report on CPJ's website.

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