Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


News Backgrounder: Zaoui Seeks His Freedom

News Backgrounder: Zaoui Seeks His Freedom

By Kevin List

Today the lawyers for detained refugee Ahmed Zaoui have gone to the High Court in Auckland seeking his release from penal custody. Mr Zaoui, who is New Zealand's first and only recipient of a security risk certificate (SRC), has now been detained in various New Zealand penal institutions for more than 18 months.

The legislation that is keeping Mr Zaoui in penal custody was introduced in 1999. At the time the members of the Select Committee that worked on this legislation included current MP's Gerry Brownlee, Lianne Dalziel, Taito Philip Field, Matt Robson and Pansy Wong. The committee's chairperson was former National MP Joy Quigley.

Interestingly two of the committee's advisors at the time have risen through the ranks of the Department of Labour.

The man responsible for looking into the legal implications of the Immigration Amendment Act 1999 for the New Zealand Immigration Service (NZIS) was Graeme Buchanan.

Today Buchanan took over one of the new Deputy-Secretary positions created at the Department of Labour. Missing out on a position as a Deputy Secretary was current General Manager of the NZIS Andrew Lockhart. During the select committee proceedings Lockhart was manager of Border and Investigations at the NZIS, and would have played a significant role in working on aspects of the legislation dealing with security issues.

Zaoui's lawyers will today be arguing that section 114O of the 1999 Amendment Act provides leeway to detain a SRC recipient in premises other than a penal institution. The Department of Labour have advised the Government that this section can only be interpreted as providing for penal detention for Zaoui. However section 114(O) does state that a person held under a SRC may be released from either a prison or from some 'other premises’.

When questioned about this provision, the then chairperson Joy Quigley was unable to assist Scoop with any specifics.

Quigley pointed out that when the MPs considered the legislation they had no idea that someone would be in jail for more than a year whilst the SRC proceedings rumbled on. The committee's main concern was a boatload of Chinese asylum seekers that was supposedly heading for New Zealand. In order to avoid detaining a mass arrival of boat people in penal custody, new provisions were put in place relating to what was then determined as 'other premises'.

A NZIS briefing paper to the committee relating to custody pointed out that till that date (late 1998) no person held under immigration laws had been detained in what were termed 'other premises'. However proposals were put in place by NZIS to work around this issue. The paper stated that

'At this stage it is anticipated that NZIS, via the Manager Border and Investigations, would assume overall responsibility for the approved premises by means of being designated the person in charge.'

At present the manager of the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre is known as the 'Person in Charge' and it is an approved premises.

Regardless of whether or not Zaoui wins his latest Court battle, National MP Wayne Mapp considers Zaoui (or anyone subject to a SRC) should be kept in a penal institution for the duration of the process.

Mapp is convinced that the Labour Government is absolutely correct to maintain that Zaoui cannot be anywhere else but a penal institution.

Dr Wayne Mapp's personal view expressed to Scoop today is, "that anyone who is the subject of a security risk certificate should be held in penal custody." Dr Mapp considered that the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre would not be secure enough for someone who was the subject of a security risk certificate.

In Dr Mapp's latest press statement on the Zaoui case Mapp called the current litigation (to move Zaoui from penal custody) vexatious.

When pressed as to whether all the litigation engaged upon by Zaoui's lawyers had been vexatious he conceded that the recent Court of Appeal case may have been necessary to clarify what the Inspector-General's responsibilities are.

However Mapp was of the opinion that the appeal to dismiss the Inspector-General should have been handled at the same time as the case regarding the Inspector-General's responsibilities (Dec 2003).

**** ENDS ****

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news