Tuesday, 3 February 2009 4:46 AM

Vanuatu Publisher's Attackers to Appear in Court

Police in Vanuatu have identified four suspects for the assault on the country's Daily Post publisher, Marc Neil-Jones, and they are due to appear in court this month for preliminary hearings.

According to the Vanuatu Daily Post, Commander South, Superintendent John Taleo, 'said police investigators have completed a full report into the incident and handed it over to the Commissioner of Police' and the four suspects behind the attack will appear for preliminary hearing on February 23.

The country's Police Superintendent, Vake Rakau, 'has deplored the attack on Publisher Marc-Neil Jones and called on the Commissioner of Police and Police Service Commission to not only condemn it but apply the full force of the law on those police officers found guilty for the assault in his office in the afternoon of January 17'.

According to the report, the Superintendent is the Coordinator of the National Crime Prevention Program and stated that the 'confirmation of alleged police involvement in the attack runs the risk of "undermining" the objective of the National Crime Prevention Office'.

Also, according to the report, the Affaires of the European Commission to Vanuatu, Nicolas Berlanga, personally called in at Daily Post Offices last week 'to show his personal solidarity to the Publisher and express European Commission's Commitment to support Freedom of Speech in the country'.

"If the use of violence is always an attack against human dignity, the violence against a media representative targets a fundamental pillar of democracy which is the access of citizens to information," he said.