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Asylum Seekers Locked Up As APEC Security Kicks In

by Selwyn Manning

Mt Eden Prison is now holding 19 asylum seekers as security cracks down in preparation for this week’s APEC summit leader’s meeting in Auckland.

The detainees were detained after arriving at Auckland International Airport without proper paperwork.

Immigration spokesman Ian Smith says the people are being held in Mount Eden prison in Auckland until they can be formally identified.

It amounts to bad luck and bad timing for the asylum seekers as normally those arriving without proper papers are given work permits. However, due to APEC this week’s arrivals have been locked up.

The Auckland Refugee Council says the detention is heavy-handed, particularly as it is unlikely a terrorist would enter New Zealand as an asylum seeker. Spokesman William Smith says asylum seekers are the most highly scrutinised arrivals into the country.

It is understandable, he says, that the Government is taking extra security measures, it is inappropriate to hold innocent people in prison.

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