INDEPENDENT NEWS

The SIS, Lies And Videotape

Published: Mon 8 Dec 2003 09:52 AM
The SIS, Lies And Videotape
Green MP Keith Locke is calling for an inquiry into SIS and police mishandling of the Ahmed Zaoui investigation, following the revelation that a significant portion of audio from an interview with Mr Zaoui had gone "missing".
"The SIS and police have been bungling the investigation from day one," said Mr Locke, Green Foreign Affairs Spokesperson. "The tape was not even supplied to Inspector-General for Security and Intelligence Laurie Greig - the man solely charged with assessing whether the SIS judgement is correct.
"I will be proposing to the Ministers for the SIS and the police that they conduct an investigation into why these two agencies are making, and continue to make, so many mistakes.
"There has been serious abuse of Mr Zaoui's legal rights. The police and SIS should have told him the December 11 2002 interview was being taped, and enabled his lawyer to be present.
"It's absurd for the SIS to now argue the interview is classified and can't be shown to Mr Zaoui. Any accused is entitled to access to their own interview transcripts. This is an ominous and disturbing legal precedent, and one that bodes ill for the maintenance of basic human rights this country.
"Perhaps the SIS is worried the video will show that all the original accusations came from the Algerian regime, are prejudiced and thus have no credibility.
December 11 was also day the Police wrote their "terrorist" threat assessment on Mr Zaoui, using information from the Algerian regime located on the web-site of an American right-wing extremist, Lyndon La Rouche. Five days earlier the Assistant Police Commissioner for Terrorism, Jon White, had advised the Corrections Department that Mr Zaoui was wanted on an Algerian warrant, and that he had been sentenced to death in that country.
"Mr Zaoui has suffered enough from the incompetence of state agencies in New Zealand. He should be let out now to live in the community as a refugee, as the Refugee Status Appeals Authority has recommended.
"Last Friday Green MPs commemorated what is a shameful anniversary - the 12 months Mr Zaoui has unjustly spent in New Zealand prisons. I delivered him two books signed by all nine Green MPs. They were a picture book, 'The New Zealand Experience', to prepare him for the real experience of living freely in New Zealand we hope he will soon have, and a book of James K Baxter's poems - because Mr Zaoui is himself a poet.
"A single Christmas spent unjustly behind bars is shocking, two Christmases is a certifiable outrage," concluded Mr Locke.
ENDS

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