INDEPENDENT NEWS

Don’t Appeal, Release Zaoui Now

Published: Tue 12 Oct 2004 09:30 PM
Don’t appeal, release Zaoui now
Green MP Keith Locke has condemned the Government’s decision to appeal the Court of Appeal decision that Ahmed Zaoui’s human rights have to be taken into account in further determination of the Security Risk Certificate issued against him.
“Why are they prolonging Mr Zaoui’s agony? In her release, Margaret Wilson admits that she wouldn’t return Mr Zaoui to Algeria, a place of persecution, yet she is willing to persecute him with several more months in jail,” said Mr Locke, the Green Party’s Human Rights Spokesperson.
“The Government has previously admitted they are treating Mr Zaoui as a guinea pig for an inadequate law, which will be reviewed when his fate is determined.
“Mr Zaoui, who has refugee status, has now been in jail for more than 22 months. He shouldn’t have to suffer several more months in jail while the Government appeals the decision of two courts - the High Court and the Court of Appeal - that basic human rights criteria must be applied to Mr Zaoui’s case.
“There is an air of desperation about the Government’s latest move. It is embarrassed that a genuine Algerian refugee has been in jail for so long when there is no available evidence he is a threat.
“The Government knows it can not meet the Court of Appeal’s ‘high test’ that Mr Zaoui must be a real security threat. It is now clutching at the straw of a Supreme Court appeal.
“The Government would be best to cut its losses now and save itself from even deeper embarrassment. All the Court of Appeal came up with was a fair determination of the Zaoui case and the Government should respect it.
“Can’t they see that Mr Zaoui is a person and desperately wants to be free to settle down with his family here and contribute to our society?
“It is unconscionable to keep such an innocent man, who has suffered so much abroad, in jail for what could now approach three years as a result of this further appeal,” said Mr Locke.

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