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Wilson in Wonderland with Zaoui comments

15 October, 2004

Wilson in Wonderland with Zaoui comments

Green MP Keith Locke has welcomed the latest decision against the Government's attempts to gag Ahmed Zaoui.

"The Supreme Court decision to reject a Government appeal against Mr Zaoui being allowed to talk to the news media means that the muzzle is off and it will be harder for the politicians to slander him as a Muslim extremist," said Mr Locke, the Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson.

"He is an engaging man, and I'm sure he'll convince the public that he is a moderate and passionate about democracy in his homeland."

Mr Locke said the Government was looking increasingly ludicrous in its attempts to justify Mr Zaoui's incarceration.

"The Government seems to have backed itself all the way through the looking glass on the Zaoui case," said Mr Locke. "Certainly, Attorney-General Margaret Wilson's comment yesterday that 'his detention is not an imprisonment' might have come straight from Alice in Wonderland.

"Likewise, her comment that 'he can leave at any stage he chooses' displays contempt for the plight of refugees. Like all asylum seekers in New Zealand custody, Mr Zaoui does have the right to return to torture and death in his homeland.

"Jewish refugees were also free to return to Hitler's Germany but, understandably, none did."

"Ms Wilson also appears quite nonchalant about the extra time Mr Zaoui will be in jail as a result of her appeal against the Court of Appeal judgement that human rights must be taken into account in the pending review of his security status.

"It took nine months for the Court of Appeal to deal with the human rights issue," said Mr Locke. "If the Supreme Court takes a similar time Mr Zaoui could end up spending three years in a New Zealand prison cell.

"It is to be hoped the Court of Appeal will take this suffering into account in its separate consideration as to whether he should be freed while his future in New Zealand is being determined."

ENDS


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