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Passport case shouldn't end with light sentences

15 July, 2004

Passport case shouldn't end with light sentences

Green MP Keith Locke says the light sentences handed down to two suspected Israeli agents should only be the beginning of government investigations into the matter.

The High Court in Auckland has handed down a six-month custodial sentence on the two, after one of the men donated $50,000 to charity.

"The consequences of the passport fraud could have been a much more serious crime," said Mr Locke, the Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson. "There is a strong possibility that Mossad would have used these passports for terrorist purposes, possibly even the assassination of its opponents abroad.

"In one high profile case in 1997 two Mossad agents carrying fake Canadian passports were arrested in Jordan after a botched attempt to assassinate a Hamas official, Khaled Meshaal. On other occasions Mossad has used false passports in assassination attempts. And just last year it was reported that Mossad agents were posing as Canadians to set up a missile strike in Gaza

"Yet our Terrorism Suppression Act does not cover state terrorism, like that conducted by Israel with false passports. It only covers actions against an existing state or international organisation like the UN."

Keith Locke is calling on the police to conduct further investigations to see whether the two suspected agents were involved in a conspiracy to use the passports to commit murder. If this can be proved they should be prosecuted under our criminal legislation.

"Are we seriously opposed to terrorism in all its forms, or do we make exceptions if it is carried out by a 'friendly' state?" Mr Locke asked.

"Bizarrely, our anti-terrorism laws have kept one clearly innocent man, Ahmed Zaoui, behind bars for over a year, while the two convicted Israelis, who may be involved in preparations for 'state terrorism', will be out of jail in four months."

Mr Locke supported strong sanctions against Israel if the New Zealand Government had proof that the two men were Israeli spies.


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