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Zaoui 2½ - Crown ½

Fri, 1 Oct 2004

1 October 2004 Zaoui 2½ - Crown ½

Green Co-Leader Rod Donald is urging the Government to quit while its behind and set Ahmed Zaoui free, following today's landmark Court of Appeal decision.

The three judges of the Court rejected the Crown's appeal against an earlier High Court decision that Mr Zaoui's human rights, as defined by the international refugee convention, must be taken into account in the review of the Security Risk Certificate that is detaining him at the Auckland Central Remand Prison. The Court also awarded costs. The score at the Court of Appeal is now Zaoui's legal team two and a half, Crown a half (the half being the split decision on the legality of his detention in a prison).

"The Court of Appeal has correctly ruled that Ahmed Zaoui's human rights must be taken into account when the Inspector-General of Security and Intelligence reviews the Security Risk Certificate," said Mr Donald.

"Clearly the courts accept that Mr Zaoui is a refugee, as determined by the Refugee Status Appeals Authority, and should be treated as such.

"The Government has failed in virtually every legal attempt it has made to deny Mr Zaoui his rights. Instead of delaying his release any further, Paul Swain, the Minister of Immigration, should use his powers to lift the Security Risk Certificate and allow Mr Zaoui to walk free. Not doing so will simply extend Mr Zaoui's pain and suffering while he waits for the Inspector-General to undertake the security review, a process that has now become irrelevant following today's Court decision.

"I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mr Zaoui's legal team - Deborah Manning, Richard McLeod and Rodney Harrison QC - for standing up against the full weight of not only the New Zealand Government but also those other powers who have an interest in stopping this democratically elected member of the Algerian Parliament from making New Zealand his home and being reunited with his wife and children.

"The fact that the court has awarded costs to Zaoui vindicates their pursuit of justice through every available channel in the face of enormous Government pressure," said Mr Donald.

ENDS

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