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Call for security boss to be taken off Zaoui case

University union calls for security boss to be taken off Zaoui case

The Association of University Staff today joined the call for the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Justice Laurie Greig, to be taken off the Ahmed Zaoui case, following what appear to be prejudicial statements made to the New Zealand Listener.

Justice Greig is currently reviewing classified security intelligence information which led to a Security Risk Certificate being issued against Mr Zaoui. His decision will assist the Minister of Immigration Lianne Dalziel determining whether or not Mr Zaoui will be deported.

Commenting to the Listener on his review of Mr Zaoui’s Security Risk Certificate, Justice Greig is reported saying that “as a New Zealander . . . we don’t want lots of people coming in on false passports (they they’ve) thrown down the loo”. He goes on to say that if he was to make the decision, without Ms Dalziel’s intervention, Mr Zaoui would be “outski on the next plane”.

Association of University Staff National President Dr Bill Rosenberg said that such comments were extraordinary for a person in a quasi-judicial position, but even more so in the exceptionally serious circumstances of the case.

“The public have repeatedly been told to trust the process, despite its secrecy and despite its admitted unfairness,” said Dr Rosenberg. “How are the public, and even more crucially, Mr Zaoui, to trust a process when such remarks have been made by the only person who is not an SIS operative who may scrutinise the actual evidence it says it holds. We believe the remarks were prejudicial and, as a result, trust in the process has been lost.”

“Justice Greig’s comments are made all the more serious by the fact that this is a decision which, if it goes against Mr Zaoui, it will most likely lead to his death. If Mr Zaoui is deported, it will be to Vietnam from where he will be sent to Algeria where he awaits several death penalties for unspecified ‘crimes’”. He and the Minister of Immigration are in effect deciding on an immigration case in which capital punishment is the penalty.”

Dr Rosenberg said that the government would be most unwise to proceed with the present process in the light of such prejudicial comments, and called for Justice Greig to be removed.

“AUS has consistently opposed this and similar legislation which strips people of their basic human rights. Today it is Mr Zaoui who is its unfortunate victim. Tomorrow it could be a New Zealander. It is all too easily used to suppress dissenting voices and controversial ideas.”

Mr Zaoui and his lawyers have been denied access to the classified security information upon which the SIS, Justice Greig and the Minister of Immigration will make their decisions. As such Mr Zaoui is denied the basic human right of defending himself.

Dr Rosenberg said that Mr Zaoui, a former university professor, had been cleared of any terrorist connections by the New Zealand Refugee Status Appeals Authority which granted him refugee status in August. Mr. Zaoui remains detained in the Auckland Central Remand Prison.

Ends

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