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Government's hands no longer tied in Zaoui case

Government's hands no longer tied in Zaoui case

Green MP Keith Locke said today that Friday's High Court decision does allow for the Government to move Ahmed Zaoui from Auckland Remand Prison to the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre.

"No longer can the government claim its hands are tied over the form of Mr Zaoui's detention," said Mr Locke, the Green Party's Foreign Affairs spokesperson.

"While Justice Paterson declined to go into the specifics of Mr Zaoui's case, he did say that a person covered by a Security Risk Certificate 'does not have to be in a prison', and that that the Immigration Act 'effectively delegates to the Executive the choice of where the person is to be detained.'

"I will be asking the Government to exercise its discretion to move Mr Zaoui to a more relaxed form of detention, such as at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre.

"This can be done without legislative change. At most it requires the Government to alter the regulations governing the Security Risk Certificate warrants of commitment.

"Mr Zaoui has been in jail for nineteen and a half months, and his case could go on for quite a lot longer. Clearly he merits some relief. It is shameful that a person without any criminal charges against him should be in a prison for so long.

"While I am disappointed Justice Paterson didn't go further and order Mr Zaoui to be moved out of Auckland Central Remand Prison, his judgement does allow for the government to take this humanitarian step," said Mr Locke.

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