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Ahmed Zaoui: Justice Must Be Seen To Be Done

31 March 2004

Ahmed Zaoui: Justice Must Be Seen To Be Done

Amnesty International today repeated its demand for justice to be seen to be done in the wake of the High Court's decision to disqualify the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security from reviewing the security risk certificate issued against imprisoned Algerian refugee, Ahmed Zaoui.

In a decision released today the High Court disqualified Laurie Grieg on the grounds of apparent bias, citing the need for adherence to the highest standards of impartiality in a process of great importance to Mr Zaoui and to our wider security interests

Amnesty International has been campaigning for 'freedom or fair trial' for Ahmed Zaoui since the decision of New Zealand's Refugee Status Appeals Authority last August to grant him refugee status.

The Authority found that he has a well-founded fear of persecution if returned to Algeria, and that there was no credible evidence to substantiate allegations of links to terrorist organizations, or other serious crime.

The Government must now act decisively to ensure that after 15 months of imprisonment without charge or trial Mr Zaoui is either freed, or promptly given the fair hearing he has so far been denied in New Zealand said Ced Simpson, Amnesty's NZ director.

Mr Simpson said there was nothing in the Immigration Act being used to detain Mr Zaoui that prevents a fair testing of allegations against him by counsel before an independent judicial figure, with appropriate procedural limitations on the use of classified information.

Why has the Government not taken steps to protect New Zealand's reputation by meeting the clear criteria established by the European Court of Human Rights for national security cases?

He called on the Government to withdraw its appeal against a December High Court ruling that the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security should take human rights into account during a security risk certificate review.

ENDS

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