Pohnpei files charges for criminal solicitation against Iso Nahnken Salvador Iriarte
- Category: News
- Published: Wednesday, 17 October 2018 13:16
- Written by Bill Jaynes
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By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
October 11, 2018
Pohnpei, FSM—Pohnpei has filed criminal charges against Iso Nahnken of Nett, Salvador Iriarte alleging criminal solicitation based on a speech that he gave on the grounds of the Kolonia Public Market on August 31, 2018. August 31 was the day by which, according to notices issued by the Attorney General’s office, occupants of the Public Market were to have vacated or face legal action.
A crowd gathered in force on that day, apparently expecting a confrontation that was never planned to have happened. Instead, on that day, the Attorney General’s office filed civil actions in Pohnpei Supreme Court against all presumed trespassers on the property.
Though the charges against Mr. Iriarte were filed a month ago, the court did not, until recently issue a penal summons. Mr. Iriarte had not been aware of them until the penal summons was issued and served on him. His arraignment is scheduled for today in the Pohnpei Supreme Court.
The charges allege that Mr. Iriarte, “with intent to promote or facilitate the commission of a crime, commands, encourages or requests another person to engage in conduct that causes the result specified by the definition of the crime, or engages in conduct which would be sufficient to establish complicity in the specified conduct or result, did then and there, willfully and unlawfully deliver a public speech encouraging the people that were unlawfully occupying the Kolonia Public Markets to defy notices to vacate the properties belonging to the State of Pohnpei and commanded the people to remain on the properties, a crime in violation of Title 61, Chapter 4, Section 103 (1) of the Pohnpei State Code.”
Assistant Attorney General Judah Johnny initially transcribed the Iso Nahnken’s speech from an incomplete video taken by V6AH radio with parts of the text missing due to inaudibility. He has since issued an English language translation of the speech.
If Mr. Johnny’s translation is accurate, the honorable Iso Nahnken’s speech on that day appeared to present mixed messages but the point he seemed most to want to drive home is that calm should prevail and peaceful means utilized.
In one section of the speech, Mr. Iriarte said as translated by Mr. Johnny, “…be calm, for it is not fitting to be in pandemonium, for us to dispute about something over which the truth is obvious, it is not proper for us to dispute over it…”. Moments later he said, “…we cannot permit, it cannot be done, our right that we are born into and possess shall endure throughout all generations, in addition, blood shed, blood shed for us to preserve right, if it is taken then blood will also shed, that is, I do not say it to be done, but naturally it will be done, naturally it will be done, cannot put to stop.” He immediately followed with “I therefore (think that it is) important that that there be calm (order).”
He expressed his displeasure that the eviction notice was issued by an American man, the Attorney General, Dana Smith. “…a real American man who is involved in this ‘get out’ (eviction notice) is difficult. (In) Palau, an American man attempted, attempted to speak about land, beaten there, fractured his hand. This is how much they cannot, cannot tolerate. Therefore you should be calm and District government and Kolonia need that they unite…”
The segments of his speech that resulted in criminal charges were his admonitions to the people to stay on the land. He admonished the audience to stay but to stay peacefully and not to react with violence.
Pohnpei’s Attorney General has said that it makes no difference where the land is located, the land is owned by Pohnpei State Board of Trustees of the Public Lands Trust. As owners of the land, the State Government has the right and the Attorney General has the obligation to defend the interests of Pohnpei State.
But the issue of who owns the land that was filled outside of the previous shores of Kolonia seems to be the principal rub with the Nett municipality. Nett previously argued in a court case that since the land was filled outside the boundaries of the original charter granted to Kolonia, it belonged to them. They lost that case. Nett appealed the decision of the court but for many years the court has rendered no decision on the appeal.
Mr. Iriarte is innocent of the charges of criminal solicitation unless it is otherwise proven in a court of law.
The matter of the eviction of alleged squatters at the Kolonia Public Market is now up to the Pohnpei State Supreme Court to decide. It will likely be quite some time before that matter is decided.
(Late update: Mr. Iriarte requested for enlargement of time and the arraignment did not take place as scheduled.)