Saturday, August 02, 2003

Free Ahmed Zaoui

The Refugee Status Appeals Authority has decided that Ahmed Zaoui is not a terrorist, and has granted him refugee status. Despite this, he remains incarcerated in Paremoremo prison because Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel doesn't want to release him.

Think about that for a moment. We have a man who has not been convicted of any crime, imprisoned on the say-so of a government minister. That's the sort of thing that happens in shitty third-world dictatorships, like the one Zaoui was fleeing, not in a supposed liberal democracy like New Zealand.

The government cannot hide behind claims of secrecy on this. Either it should front up and clearly explain why Zaoui is a security risk who must be imprisoned or deported, or it should release him immediately. Anything else is an affront to the democratic values we're supposed to stand for.