Open Letter To All Labour MPs Re: Ahmed Zaoui
19 November 2003
Rt Hon Helen Clark MP
Dear Labour colleague
A further open letter to all Labour MPs re Ahmed Zaoui
Ahmed Zaoui should be released from prison and allegations from whatever sources put squarely to him so that he is afforded natural justice.
I have previously written to you about this important issue. I also briefed the Progressive caucus the Tuesday after the Refugee Status Appeals Authority made its decision in August and then began a trail of correspondence with responsible Ministers.
Ahmed Zaoui, a former Algerian MP, is a victim of the oppression of the brutal Algerian regime. He has fought against social, political and economic injustice. In his political philosophy he fits easily with the stated political philosophy of the Labour Party and the Progressive Party.
The case against him from his arrival in New Zealand has been built on the fabrications of the Algerian regime which has sentenced him to death. That regime has no credibility. There is a plethora of material documenting its atrocious human rights record. The party of Ahmed Zaoui, the FIS, has been a particular target for repression. One work that would be helpful to Labour Party members’ understanding is An Inquiry into the Algerian Massacres, edited by Bedjaoui, Aroua and Ait-Larbi, with forewords by Noam Chomsky and Lord Avebury (ISBN 2-9401 30-08-6.) There are a number of reviews of the book on the web.
Customs, Immigration, Police, Corrections, Foreign Affairs and the SIS have mishandled this case. You need only to look at the ludicrous Police ‘Threat Assessment’ and the chain of events that followed as a key example. That flawed document resulted in Mr. Zaoui being held, without charge, in the maximum security wing at Paremoremo.
The weight of evidence shows that Ahmed Zaoui should have been allowed to stay in the community. Attesting to the fact that he is not a terrorist have been leading academic experts and Algerian religious leaders, both Christian and Muslim, human rights organisations and many others.
The allegations against him come from a brutal regime and the unreliable security organisations of France and Belgium. The latter are deeply compromised by their close association with the Algerian regime.
Our own refugee tribunal, the Refugee Status Appeals Authority, has found Mr. Zaoui to be a refugee and a man of the highest integrity. This decision was reached after an exhaustive hearing where all evidence, including that of Mr. Zaoui and that put by the SIS, was thoroughly tested.
In the RSAA hearing the improper actions of the agencies involved were clearly demonstrated. The Ministers responsible for the departments must take seriously findings that reflect so badly on their departments. Those findings showed that proper legal processes have been circumvented and that the actions of the departments have led to the frame-up of an innocent man. This is indeed a serious issue.
I find it dismaying that our progressive government has placed itself on the side of the Algerian regime rather than on the side of its victim.
The time has come to put aside the embarrassment that Ministers may suffer through the mishandling of this case.
Ahmed Zaoui must be released and justice observed in his case.