INDEPENDENT NEWS

Free Ahmed Zaoui: Vigil In ChCh Today

Published: Mon 22 Dec 2003 08:33 AM
Free Ahmed Zaoui: Vigil In ChCh Today
Christchurch campaign to Free Ahmed Zaoui: vigil and delegation to SIS office today.
Christchurch supporters of imprisoned Algerian refugee Ahmed Zaoui will gather outside the offices of the SIS at 1pm this afternoon. A citizens delegation will then proceed to the SIS office to ask the SIS for the summary of the charges against Mr. Zaoui.
The supporters applaud the decision by the High Court, which found that Mr. Zaoui was entitled to a summary of the secret information against him and for the decision by the Inspector-General to include proper application of human rights standards.
However, the group are concerned that:
1.. Mr. Zaoui continues to be detained in a New Zealand prison. "The ordeal of not knowing what the secret information is against him and when or if he will be released will have taken an unprecedented and unjustified emotional and psychological toll on Mr Zaoui and his family. As a sign of good faith in light of the Refugee Status Appeal Authority (RSAA) decision, the New Zealand government should release him," said spokesperson Moana Cole.
2.. The New Zealand government will adhere to international human rights standards when determining the issuance of a security-risk certificate. "The war on terror has impacted on the civil liberties of all Western democratic societies and New Zealand is no exception. Politicians, the legal community and all citizens should ensure that the basis of democracy such as the principle of natural justice is not undermined by the war on terrorism, otherwise it is possible to imagine governmental officials doing more to destroy democracy in the name of counter terrorism than is presently likely to be achieved by terrorists themselves" said Ms Cole.
3.. The bias shown by Laurie Greig, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, make his position untenable. "Mr. Greig's 'outski' comments and his disregard for human rights standards reveal bias that is unacceptable by a man in his position".
The decision to go to the SIS office in Christchurch was obvious given its history in the city such as the infamous break-in into the home of anti-globalisation researcher and writer Aziz Choudry. "The RSAA has declared Mr. Zaoui a genuine refugee, he is a democratically elected politician who was ousted from Algeria after a violent military coup and the accusations against him can only emanate from the current Algerian regime responsible for human rights atrocities. What New Zealanders must be wary of is that the SIS does not justify its existence by creating enemies that do not exist. That is one of the reasons why the case of Ahmed Zaoui is accorded such significance by so many people".
When: Monday 21 December, 1-2pm
Where: Opposite WEA, 59 Gloucester Street Christchurch

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