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Four Charged In Murder of Palau President

July 22, 1985

KOROR, Palau (AP) _ Four men, including the son and nephew of a state governor, were charged Monday with conspiracy and murder in the assassination of President Haruo I. Remeliik, officials said.

The June 30 assassination of the first president of the Republic of Palau was politically motivated, said Philip Isaac, Palau’s assistant attorney general.

″It was low-level discontent, I think, for the administration of President Remeliik,″ said Isaac, who would not comment further.

Isaac also refused to say what led authorities to suspect the four men, and who was considered the gunman. They are to be arraigned Friday.

Melwert Tmetuchl, Leslie Tewid, and Anghenio Sabino were arrested during the weekend, Isaac said. An arrest warrant was issued for Francisco Gibbon, who was being treated for a heart problem at Guam Memorial Hospital.

Associate Justice Alan Lane set bail at $1 million each for the three men under arrest on Palau, Isaac said.

Tmetuchl is the son of Airai state Gov. Roman Tmetuchl, who ran against Remeliik in last November’s presidential election. Tewid is the govenor’s nephew.

Sources here say the elder Tmetuchl is expected to be a candidate in the special presidential election next month. Gov. Tmetuchl is not considered a suspect, according to Isaac.

Palau’s national congress has scheduled a special presidential election for Aug. 28. Alfonso Oiterong, the vice president who succeeded Remeliik, was the only announced candidate, but others have until Sunday to announce.

Remeliik, who became Palau’s first president in 1980, was shot to death in the driveway of his home.

Palau has been administered by the United States as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands under a United Nations mandate since 1947. It is west of the international dateline about 600 miles east of the Philippines and 4,500 miles southwest of Honolulu.

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