Mingus Casey: Is Ahmed Zaoui A Terrorist?
Is Ahmed Zaoui A Terrorist?
By Mingus Casey
Ahmed Zaoui is an Algerian national, who is currently in prison in New Zealand, after arriving on a false passport. At the immigration desk, he openly told New Zealand officials who he was, and was promptly arrested. He was kept in solitary confinement for 11 months, and is currently applying for refugee status in New Zealand. His trial bears hallmarks of the apartheid era in South Africa. The New Zealand SIS (Secret Intelligence Service) suspects that he may be a terrorist.
Previous to his interest in politics, Ahmed Zaoui held a position as Associate Professor of Theology and Comparative Religious Studies, at the University of Algiers.
Ahmed Zaoui joined a political organisation, the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) in 1991, and became active within the party. He was nominated for the seat of Cheraga. The next year, FIS won a land slide victory, in the first two party elections held in 30 years in Algeria, with Ahmed Zaoui democratically winning his seat.
Then, the army staged a coup - the army didn't want an Islamic government in power - FIS had stated that if they won, they would return Algeria to a similar status as the Taliban had returned Afghanistan to.
In the aftermath of the coup, many many FIS members "disappeared", or were jailed, and FIS was made an illegal party. As a result of this, an armed wing of the FIS, the GIA (Armed Islamic Group) was formed. Many ex-taliban mujaheddin from Afghanistan moved to Algeria to fight for Islam. The tactic's used by both sides were nothing short of horrendous, with major human rights abuses occurring on both sides. The Algerian government has claimed to have killed over 20,000 "terrorists".
In 1993, the GIA staged a successful jail-break. From the influx of members from this jailbreak, another armed splinter group of the FIS formed, the AIS (Armed Wing of Principal Islamist Group), who disagreed with the GIA's method's and policies.
By this time, most of the original FIS was in exile in Europe and around the world, Ahmed Zaoui included. The GIA was also waging a very dirty war, targeting schools, denying women's rights, slitting peoples throats. The FIS in exile declared that the official military wing of the FIS was the AIS.
The GIA, a group which Ahmed Zaoui is supposedly related to, were not happy about this, and declared that they wanted him, and many other members of the FIS dead. There is no proven link between the GIA, and Ahmed Zaoui.
A French court has convicted him in absenteeism for charges of criminal association, however the French have a vested interest in Algeria, due to it's oil reserves, and supply arms to the current regime. They did not issue extradition notices to any other countries, a surprising move if they were serious about catching a "terrorist".
The GIA is a group made up of hardline Islamics, and mujaheddin, people who've either never stopped fighting since Afghanistan, or are blinded by their beliefs.
The AIS was disbanded in 2000, while the GIA still exists. The AIS, before it's disbanding, gave it's support to the government in wiping out the GIA. Anything was better than the chaos that the GIA were attempting to create. The GIA are still fighting in Algeria at present, with the recent capture of their leader on November 20th this year, by Algerian security forces weakening them slightly.
There is also supposedly evidence that suggests the GIA was manipulated by the Algerian secret service.
This was a three army civil war, with the GIA, the Government, and the AIS all fighting each other. There was only one real belief that both the AIS and the Government held, and that was that anything would be better than having the GIA winning.
In 1997, Ahmed Zaoui and a number of other FIS leaders disbanded from FIS, and created the Islamic Salvation Front Coordination Council (CCFIS), abroad from Algeria, and opposed a potential truce.
There is no link that I am aware of, between the CCFIS and the GIA. The Belgian Aliens Consultative Committee has confirmed that there is no visible link between Ahmed Zaoui and the GIA. However, in 1994, while he opposed the merging of the FIS and an armed resistance group, a political rival in the FIS released a press release saying Ahmed Zaoui had gone to Algeria, and joined the GIA. This was widely reported throughout western media, however it is unlikely that it's true, due to the fact that in 1994, he was supposedly in Italy. He has also constantly denied any link between himself and the GIA. If there is such a link, it is in the classified documents the New Zealand SIS hold on the case.
Ahmed Zaoui is a man known for his writing regarding peace, and has supposedly repeatedly advocated a peaceful situation to this conflict.
However, he was also a man willing to state his beliefs.
This has earned him the death penalty in absenteeism in Algeria, for supposedly committing the following crimes, without a fair trial, or any of the rights we as New Zealanders take for granted.
- "acts of aggression to destabilise state institutions and inciting armed rebellion to carry out assassinations and to destroy property (sentenced to life imprisonment December 1996)"
- "plotting against the state, criminal conspiracy, inciting armed rebellion and assassinations [and] destruction of property (sentenced to life imprisonment February 1997)"
- "belonging to armed groups and for weapons trafficking (sentenced to death 1997)"
The only thing he appears to have done wrong, is to be a member of the wrong political party, a mistake that's haunted him for the last ten years.
There is no proven link between Ahmed Zaoui and either the GIA, or the AIS. I would find any link between Ahmed Zaoui and the GIA very hard to believe, due to the fact that they separated from the FIS in the early 90's, the armed wing of the FIS has fought against the GIA, and both the GIA and the Algerian government want him dead.
-The GIA wants him dead http://www.listener.co.nz/printable,499.sm
-The Algerian government wants him dead -He's a member of the ccfis http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0312/S00096.htm
fis split into two factions, the gia and the ais -The fis in
exile named the ais it's legitimate military wing and has no
link to the GIA any more -The gia attacts hardline islamics,
mujaheddin, and others, and is responsible for numerous
attrocities -The gia is responsible for some serious
incidents of terrorism in algeria -The ais was at war with
the gia for a period
-The Algerian government was at war with both the gia and the ais http://www.algeria-interface.com/new/article.php?article_id=108&lng=e
known for his writing regarding peace -He's advocated a
peaceful solution to the conflict -He's been charged and
given the death penalty, an unfair trial in absenteeism
-There is no proven link that i am aware of that shows any relationship between him and the gia -He's been "accused" of being the GIA head in Europe, and by the Algerian press
-The GIA may be manipulated in part by
secret service's of France and Algeria
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