(November 2, 1998) On October 20, a court in Tahiti jailed two activists and gave suspended terms to 58 other people involved in protests over the French resumption of nuclear tests on Moruroa and Fangataufa in 1995.
(501.4940) WISE Amsterdam - The court case at Tahiti started on September 21 (almost exactly three years after the fierce protests) and lasted for a month. Hiro Tefaarere, regarded by the court as one of the ringleaders, was jailed for 18 months with another 18 months suspended and deprived of his civil rights for five years at the end of a month-long trial. Former trade union leader Ronald Terorotua was jailed for a year and deprived of his rights for three years. Tefaarere said he would appeal the sentence which would deprive him of his seat in the French territory's elected assembly.
In July 1995, French President Chirac decided to resume nuclear tests in the Pacific. Protests all over the world started and demonstrations were organized in support of the Maohi people who had been victims of French nuclear tests for over 30 years.
Tahitian civil organizations (churches, political parties, unions and NGOs) protested for several days after the first nuclear test. On September 7, 1995, the local unions organized a demonstration against the first test and occupied the airport of Faa'a. Upon the violent intervention of police forces and the massive use of tear gas, the whole population of Faa'a joined the unions.
The French government puts on trial the victims of the nuclear tests to divert its own responsibility towards the Maohi people. On the contrary it is responsible for contaminating for more than 30 years the livelihood of the Polynesians, polluting their water, soil and subsoil.
Faced with a storm of international protest, France ended its test series ahead of schedule in January 1996, and has since signed a global ban on nuclear testing.
- Reuters, 20 October 1998
- Action Alert in support of activists, 9 September 1998
Contact: Hiti Tau, PO Box 4611, Papeete, Tahiti.
Tel: +489-521371; Fax: +689-572880