INDEPENDENT NEWS

Belgian and French convictions already noted

Published: Tue 13 Apr 2004 11:22 PM
Belgian and French convictions already noted
“Citizens advocating the fair treatment of Ahmed Zaoui are well aware of Ahmed Zaoui’s convictions in France and Belgium” says Alex Davidson, who runs the website http://www.freezaoui.org.nz/
“Ahmed Zaoui’s Belgian conviction was mentioned in the NZ Herald as far back as December 2002 and both the French and Belgian decisions were examined in detail by various media following the decision of the Refugee Status Appeal Authority (RSAA) in August of 2003. The RSAA examined the convictions, the political situations surrounding them, and whether these rulings excluded Ahmed Zaoui from protection under article 1F of the Refugee Convention.
“The RSAA concluded in the case of the Belgian conviction, that: ‘at best, it would be unsafe to rely on these convictions’ They also found the French convictions to be unsafe, and listed clearly the reasoning behind their decision.
“The RSAA noted that it was not the only judicial body to criticize the decision of the Belgium court. Belgium’s own Foreigners’ Consultative Committee (Commission Consultative des Etrangers), examined the Belgium trial five months after the decision and rejected the findings, noting many of the same problems with the trial, judgement and sentence as highlighted by the RSAA.
“In talking about these convictions Wayne Mapp is merely revisiting material already examined in full. Those calling for justice for Ahmed Zaoui have already noted those convictions, and trust in the judgement of the New Zealand Refugee Status Appeal Authority in determining the true background of people seeking refuge in New Zealand, rather than relying on the judgement of a foreign court, with foreign interests.
“Ultimately the RSAA granted Ahmed Zaoui refugee status, describing him as: “an articulate, intelligent, committed and principled individual, who, despite the hurdles placed before him over the last ten years remains a passionate advocate for peace through democracy in Algeria"
“The material is openly available to all interested New Zealanders, with the full RSAA decision being available online on a number of sites including at http://www.freezaoui.org.nz/docs/rsaa.pdf

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