Ahmed Zaoui Marks Two Years As A Refugee
Algerian academic Ahmed Zaoui marked two years today since the Refugee Status Appeals Authority (RSAA) deemed him a legitimate refugee. The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service had earlier deemed Mr Zaoui a risk to New Zealand's national security, issuing a risk certificate against him.
Mr Zaoui spent two years detained, much of it in solitary confinement, while the government fought in the High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court to have him remain detained. Finally, in December 2004, Mr Zaoui was released on bail into the care of Auckland's St Benedict's Dominican friary.
The inspector general of intelligence and security is currently preparing to review the NZSIS's decision to lodge a security risk certificate against Mr Zaoui.
The Zaoui/NZSIS case is seen as a test case in New Zealand and has demonstrated the legal fragility of New Zealand's security/immigration laws; has questioned the professionalism of New Zealand's intelligence gatherers; and has raised concerns about the New Zealand government's commitment to balancing an individual's right to refuge and fair hearing while decisions leading to detention pend review.
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Ahmed Zaoui and Father Chris.
Lawyer Deborah Manning arrived direct from overseas after meeting Ahmed Zaoui's family. She has prepared an application for them to be provided with refugee status in New Zealand.
Ahmed Zaoui temporarily pots an olive tree and pohutukawa tree in containers, marking two years since he was deemed a legitimate refugee.
Ahmed Zaoui serves up lunch to those who have aided him since his arrival in New Zealand.