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Regarding The Solitary Confinement of Ahmed Zaoui

Statement from Phil McCarthy, General Manager Public Prisons Service.

"The Department of Corrections continues to hold Mr Zaoui in custody, due to a Court issued warrant sought by the Immigration Service. The Department does not have the power to rescind the decision that Mr Zaoui be held in prison.

"Corrections is responsible for determining which prison Mr Zaoui is held in and his management regime. Mr Zaoui's management reflects two aspects. First, that he is unique in this country as being subject to a Security Risk Certificate. Secondly, a non-association regime removes any danger Mr Zaoui may face from other inmates. However, given Professor Taylor's recent psychological report, and the length of time that has now passed, the Department will review Mr Zaoui's management regime. This will involve liaising with the New Zealand Police and the Immigration Service and will include a review of the frequency of visits he can receive. The decision, however, will be Corrections and his ongoing safety will be a paramount consideration.

"I would like to reiterate that Mr Zaoui is not in solitary confinement. He regularly interacts with staff and we have fully cooperated with his requests for visitors, which follow the standard visitor application process. He regularly receives a range of visitors including MPs, his lawyers, people from government and non-government agencies and personal visitors.

"Mr Zaoui is able to leave his cell and access certain areas of the prison, for example the workshop, for two periods totalling 4.5 hours per day, and can go to an exercise yard twice a week. As with other inmates, he is permitted a television and radio in his cell, and approved reading material. On these occasions some interaction with other inmates occurs through the grille that separates Mr Zaoui's area from the rest, for example, playing board games. He is entitled to twice-weekly phonecalls to his family, medical care and to have his spiritual and cultural needs met. "Mr Zaoui needs to be held in Auckland and Auckland Prison is most suitably equipped to cater for someone on an extended period of segregation. His cell is also larger than a typical cell."

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Information on non-voluntary segregation

In directing the non-voluntary segregation of an inmate or recommending the extension of such segregation, a prison superintendent must be satisfied either that the safety of an inmate or other person, or the security of the institution would otherwise be endangered, or that failure to give such a direction would be seriously prejudicial to the good order and discipline of the institution.

As far as practicable, inmates on non-voluntary segregation have the same privileges, personal property, access to visitors, and access to reintegrative services and opportunities for involvement in other activities as other inmates.

Non-voluntary segregation is not a punishment.

The cultural, spiritual and religious needs of inmates on non-voluntary segregation are met.

An inmate's non-voluntary segregation status is reviewed at regular intervals. This review is carried out independently of the individual institution and of the Public Prisons Service.

ENDS

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