4 September 2007
Cunliffe embarks on character assassination against Ali Panah
Ali Panah released but back in hospital
Minister of Immigration David Cunliffe has embarked on a campaign of character assassination against Iranian hunger
striker Ali Panah over the past 24 hours.
Having released Ali from 20 months detention yesterday the Minister is implying all kinds of misdeeds and mischief on
the part of Mr Panah to gain residency in New Zealand.
From the information we have seen there is nothing that could be construed as significant by way of evidence to justify
any serious misdeed on Mr Panah’s behalf. There have been some relatively minor but clearly explainable discrepancies in
Ali’s evidence given to official bodies. At the same time those official bodies have not taken into account the people
who have lived and worked with Ali for the past 5 years. They attest to his being a good and decent man, pious and
sincere, a committed Christian and first-class neighbour.
Meanwhile a smug and smarmy Minister of Immigration David Cunliffe has worked hard these past 24 hours to turn the
public against Ali who is not is any position to respond effectively.
Cunliffe has made much of the Anglican church looking after Ali so the taxpayer doesn’t have to foot the bill. This
ignores the huge cost to the taxpayer of 20 months detention in prison and hospital at enormous cost to taxpayers and
Cunliffe has still not reached first-base from a humanitarian point of view. This would involve issuing a temporary visa
for Ali until it is safe for him to return to Iran. GPJA continues to urge him to do so.
GPJA is planning further protest outside the prison at 1pm this Saturday. There is still one Iranian being held without
charge or trial. He is Amir Mohebbi who has been held for more than 3 ½ years despite having three kiwi children and a
New Zealand partner. He has had an appeal for bail heard in the Auckland High Court (bail was opposed by Mr Cunliffe)
and we are waiting for the court’s decision.