NZ First 100% Behind Govt Regarding Zaoui
NZ First 100% Behind Govt Regarding Zaoui
By Kevin List – Scoop Chief Reporter
As well as receiving support from New Zealand First regarding the Seabed and Foreshore legislation it would seem Helen Clark’s Government also has an ally in New Zealand First when it comes to the Government’s handling of detained refugee, Ahmed Zaoui. Scoop talked to Dail Jones late yesterday afternoon after the Pakistan born, New Zealand First MP had just issued a press release outlining the cost to the taxpayer of the Zaoui case.
What was missing from the press release however was exactly who was behind prolonging Mr Zaoui’s incarceration and the subsequent cost to the taxpayer.
As well as discovering that Mr Jones considers that someone deemed a refugee should be flown out of New Zealand – perhaps to possible death or torture - it also turns out that Mr Jones has no problems with detaining someone in jail for almost two years – in fact according to Mr Jones, Mr Zaoui should be put back into solitary confinement.
Despite NZ First’s tough line with one Algerian refugee, Mr Jones was especially generous when the topic of immigration policy exceptions and Zimbabwean citizens was mentioned by Scoop.
Mr Jones had no problems whatsoever with a recent policy exception that could allow well over 2000 Zimbabwean citizens already in New Zealand to stay here without having to go through any of the security checks or immigration problems encountered by the democratically elected Algerian MP Ahmed Zaoui - “they [Zimbabweans] speak English” Dail Jones told Scoop “and play rugby and cricket”.
Scoop NZ First Zaoui Interview With Dail Jones
Scoop: Who appealed yesterday to take the Zaoui case to the Supreme Court thereby prolonging it?
Dail Jones: That was in the paper wasn’t it – didn’t the Crown take that?
Scoop: Yes I believe they did.
Dail Jones: Yes … so the Crown appealed yesterday…
Scoop: So [in that case] are the Crown prolonging the case – are the Government prolonging the case?
Dail Jones: The results of the Court of Appeal decision were probably unclear is the nicest way of putting it. The Government were probably just trying to clarify it. Why doesn’t he just [Zaoui] agree to go home and that’s the end of the matter …or whoever will take him. He wouldn’t stay in prison a day longer [if he went somewhere else].
[Three Court of Appeal Judges took five months to unanimously consider that human rights should be taken into account by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security when reviewing Mr Zaoui’s ‘security risk certificate’. This followed an earlier decision by the High Court in December 2003 that stated human rights should be taken into account. The Attorney-General, Margaret Wilson appealed the December High Court decision of Justice Williams to the Court of Appeal. The cost to Mr Zaoui has been almost a further year in jail – the cost to the taxpayer because of the Labour Government fighting human rights considerations is many hundreds of thousands of dollars.]
Scoop: I was listening to Newstalk ZB a couple of weeks ago and there were some callers saying the Government should just lock Mr Zaoui up until whenever he decides to go home – do you think that’s a good idea?
Dail Jones: [laughter] - I would like to see the Government release him and put him on a plane and send him away.
Mr Jones then ascertained that Scoop was transcribing his comments and proceeded to expand on his views on immigration and the Government’s handling of the Zaoui case before returning to the business at hand of the Seabed and Foreshore legislation.
Dail Jones: What I would like to make clear is that I’ve been looking at immigration laws – our immigration laws have reached where they are today from a late 40s post Second World War situation. You had a controlled system of refugees – the whole thing has changed now. I’ve been reading some interesting papers from an Australian University and there seems to be a re-look at how we deal with refugees because there are a new lot of people who are coming into the country illegally or whatever and are operating on a different system than that of which we set up our philosophy of accepting people into New Zealand.
Scoop: What do you think of those 2300 Zimbabweans that have snuck in?
Dail Jones: Well, aah, you know, you could say that they’ve been given a preference which is absolutely true, one has to be realistic about it. But they speak English, they’re working well for new people in the country and we won’t have to provide extra alterations to state houses to accommodate them, we won’t have to provide extra school teachers [for them] to learn English. They play cricket, they play rugby, so what more do you want?
Scoop: I suppose not a lot more… - I believe that the Government appealed [the High Court’s human rights ruling in the Zaoui case] back in January to the Court of Appeal. Can you see that perhaps this whole Zaoui case has taken another year because the Government keeps appealing, rather than the lawyers?
Dail Jones: Well, you know, you say that it’s taken a while because the Government keeps appealing but this whole process has been brought about by granting Zaoui the right to apply the New Zealand system and the way in which the Refugee Status Appeals Authority, and you know it has its legal obligations. It [the RSAA] ignores the decisions of three competent European jurisdictions who came to the conclusion that Zaoui, I think, was a terrorist. It’s really quite scandalous that competent courts in European countries have reached that conclusion but a subsidiary quasi-judicial authority takes no notice because it has its own view of the matter. But that is the New Zealand way of doing things of course and that’s the beauty of living in New Zealand.
Scoop: What was the third country that convicted him?
Dail Jones: There was France, Belgium and I thought there was another one.
Scoop: I don’t think the Swiss convicted him of anything – they just threw him out.
Dail Jones: They had court decisions which said that he was a terrorist
Scoop: Did they all say he was a terrorist?
Dail Jones: I’m not too sure if that was the record of the decisions. At present I’m working on something else at the moment – I’m on the Foreshore and Seabed Select Committee.
Scoop: We should let you get back to that then – I chatted to Frank Perry and he said you might be watching the TVNZ documentary.
Dail Jones: I think Frank had suggested I should watch the documentary. I was actually born in a Muslim country
Scoop: Pakistan wasn’t it.
Dail Jones: Yes… so I know something about the Muslim way of life and suchlike. Really if Mr Zaoui wanted to go somewhere – obviously I agree with Winston [Peters] when he says he should go to a Muslim country rather than take advantage of our very relaxed way of doing things in New Zealand. I think we need to have a re-think of how our whole refugee and immigration system needs to work now.
Scoop: You think the Government is definitely doing the right thing though?
Dail Jones: Absolutely – I’ll be quite frank in saying if the Government wanted to introduce legislation tomorrow that said he [Mr Zaoui] should be put on a plane and sent away then I would have look at that and see what our [NZ First’s] other caucus members thought of it.
Scoop: Do you also support the Government is keeping Mr Zaoui in jail when they could actually move him?
Dail Jones: I think he should be kept in solitary confinement for as long as he is here, in my opinion!
Note for accuracy: Ahmed Zaoui was convicted in the 16th Chamber of the High Court of Paris on two charges relating to holding false passports, and one charge of “participation in association with criminals with intent to prepare a terrorist act.” He received a suspended sentence of three years, and was prevented from ‘stepping foot’ on French soil for eight years.
The trial took place between December 2000 and June 2001: it was in regards to alleged offences that had taken place in 1993…and the decision was announced on September 13 , 2001. There were five co-defendants, four of whom were represented by the same lawyer as Zaoui, and three, including Zaoui, were not present at the trial.
Belgian convictions –
Ahmed Zaoui was initially charged in Belgium with four offences – being the instigator of a criminal association, holding firearms without a licence, possessing false passports and assisting with the offence by providing false passports. Ahmed Zaoui was acquitted of all charges against him in the first Belgian trial. In a subsequent trial this acquittal was overturned – despite this he was not sentenced to a term of imprisonment.
Ahmed Zaoui was never charged or convicted of any offence by the Swiss Government.
Fuller in-depth analysis and investigations of Ahmed Zaoui’s European convictions are contained in “I almost forgot about the moon – the disinformation campaign against Ahmed Zaoui”
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