Two years ago, Ahmed Zaoui was freed on bail into the custody of the Dominican Friars. Since then, he has been waiting for the Inspector-General of Security Intelligence, Paul Neazor, to begin the review of the Security Risk Certificate against him. The review was originally scheduled to begin in August, but was delayed after the SIS failed to provide a full summary of allegations or "evidence" against Zaoui - in clear violation of a High Court order. And now, according to a Parliamentary question from the Green Party, it has been delayed again until July or August 2007. Worse, Neazor's term expires for then, so there is the prospect of still more delays as a new Inspector-General - Zaoui's third - is brought up to speed on the case.
This is no longer acceptable. The SIS has had more than enough time to get their house in order - it has been over three years since they were ordered to produce their "evidence" - and they have repeatedly failed to do so. This refusal to abide by the orders of the court has undermined Zaoui's ability to defend himself - as Locke's press release notes, it is difficult enough to arrange for international witnesses to travel here, let alone do it repeatedly to cope with constant delays. If the prosecution had behaved in this manner in a criminal case, refusing to specify the charges or evidence against the defendant, then it would have been thrown out long ago. We should adopt the same solution in Zaoui's case - this farce has simply gone on too long.
But in addition to the obvious problems of justice, the SIS's refusal to abide by the orders of the court raises another problem: the SIS's refusal to accept civilian oversight and review. They clearly think they are above the law, and this must change. And if it will not, they must be purged until they accept that in this country, it is the democratically elected Parliament and the laws they make that constitute the ultimate authority - not the spies.