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Locke defends Supreme Court decision

10 December 2004

Locke defends Supreme Court decision against national, NZ First attacks

Green MP Keith Locke says it is shameful that National and New Zealand First politicians are attacking the Supreme Court's decision to grant bail to Ahmed Zaoui.

"It is disgraceful that Winston Peters, a lawyer, wanted the Supreme Court to deny Mr Zaoui the long-held right to freedom under the principle of habeous corpus.

"Habeas corpus arose many centuries ago to stop political leaders of Mr Peters' ilk from arbitrarily punishing people they didn't like," said Mr Locke.

"Mr Peters and National spokesperson Tony Ryall, are shamefully suggesting legislation to over-rule our Courts on a fundamental principle of justice - the right to be released if there is no sufficient evidence against you.

"The Supreme Court was absolutely right in freeing Mr Zaoui on bail. The government was unable to come up with any new evidence to show he was a threat to New Zealand. It simply recycled the evidence already discredited after a detailed consideration by the Refugee Status Appeals Authority.

"I am also deeply disappointed that Mr Peters and Mr Ryall don't have a modicum of compassion for Mr Zaoui, who suffered two years unjustified imprisonment with ten months of that time in solitary confinement."

ENDS

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