Cunliffe embarks on character assassination

Published: Tue 4 Sep 2007 09:38 AM
4 September 2007
Media Release:
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 completely unnecessary.
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.
Further Protest
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.

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