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Churches’ Urge Fair Treatment For Ahmed Zaoui

Churches’ Agency on Social Issues
(Methodist, Presbyterian, Churches of Christ, Quaker)

15 October 2003
For immediate release

Church social issues agency urges fair treatment for Ahmed Zaoui


The continued maximum security imprisonment of Algerian dissident Ahmed Zaoui is a travesty of justice and a blot on New Zealand’s human rights record, the Churches’ Agency on Social Issues said today.

The Agency’s membership is drawn from the Methodist, Presbyterian Churches, the Associated Churches of Christ and the Society of Friends.

‘The Agency strongly supports the Anglican and Roman Catholic Bishops in their efforts to remedy this inhuman situation.’

Forefront of the Agency’s concerns are matters of principle - that all people are deemed innocent until proven guilty and that no one in New Zealand is imprisoned without hearings in court. It believes that placing Mr Zaoui in maximum security without due process of law is a dangerous precedent.

Continuing his imprisonment without proper trial makes a mockery of our proud tradition of human rights, the Agency says. ‘As a nation we have been quick to criticize others who do not meet international standards. With this situation unresolved we can no longer advocate with any credibility when others abuse human rights.

‘We note that the Refugee Appeal Authority, a statutory body, has upheld Mr Zaoui’s claim to refugee status. We therefore call for him to be moved to a place such as the Mangere Resettlement Centre, where supervision and security can continue in appropriate surroundings until his case is properly and openly dealt with.’

[ends]

For followup, contact Janet Warren, CASI co-convenor for Quakers, 476 6316

Release issued by Julia Stuart, 027 444 22 44

Churches' Agency on Social Issues PO Box 9049, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand Phone: +64 4 3818295 Fax: +64 4 8016001 www.casi.org.nz


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