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Dalziel comments on RSAA

17 October 2003 Media Statement

Dalziel comments on RSAA

Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel today said she respected the neutrality and independence of the Refugee Status Appeal Authority.

Comments she made in a media interview today may have left people with the impression that she thought otherwise, Lianne Dalziel said.

“It is important that I am clear that I absolutely believe the Authority has an important role as an independent body and I respect that.

“This morning during a radio interview, I spoke about the delaying tactics being used by Ahmed Zaoui’s lawyers, and their selective use of media publicity to promote their case.

“In making these comments, I also said that the Refugee Status Appeal Authority decision was delayed in its public release so that Mr Zaoui’s lawyers could arrange an exclusive interview with the Sunday Star Times. I want to make it clear that I did not intend to imply that the Authority was in any way involved or influenced by media issues.

“At the time Mr Zaoui’s lawyers had requested a delay, which was agreed to by all parties, in releasing the RSAA’s decision publicly, so that the identity of individual witnesses could be removed from the decision. However, Mr Zaoui’s supporters chose to capitalise on the time delay by allowing for the Sunday publication to publish its story ahead of the public release,” she said.

ENDS

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