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Turia: Zaoui Case A Human Rights Issue

Turia: Zaoui Case A Human Rights Issue

“The myth of terrorists in New Zealand has been perpetuated for 120 years” stated Tariana Turia today, co-leader of the Maori Party.

“There are striking parallels between two men imprisoned in New Zealand without trial because they posed security risks”, Mrs Turia noted, following a presentation at the Declaration of Independence celebrations in Taranaki on Thursday 28 October.

“The two men are Te Whiti o Rongomai, a Taranaki missionary for peace in the 19th century, and Algerian Ahmed Zaoui, who was an Associate Professor of Theology and Comparative Religious Studies at the University of Algiers”.

Te Whiti o Rongomai was arrested as a terrorist under the West Coast Peace Preservation Act 1882, enacted for the purpose of detaining him without trial and then imprisoning him in the South Island.

Mrs Turia noted, “The Crown acknowledged it was wrong in detaining Te Whiti, but the lesson that history need not be repeated if we can learn from it, appears to have been ignored in the Ahmed Zaoui case”.

Ahmed Zaoui, who sought sanctuary in this country in 2002, is held under recent legislation uncannily like the West Coast Peace Preservation Act. The Refugee Status Appeals Authority has cleared Mr Zaoui of terrorist associations and has declared him a legitimate refugee.

“The Maori Party stands for justice for Maori and for all” said Mrs Turia.

“We support the call of Amnesty International that Mr Zaoui should have a fair trial with public exclusion only in respect of those parts of the evidence that the judges find necessary for national security”.

The Maori Party says the Zaoui case is a human rights issue, not an immigration issue.

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