Friday, October 29, 2004

Tariana Turia on Zaoui and human rights

Tariana Turia has come out in support of "freedom or a fair trial" for Ahmed Zaoui. In a speech delivered in New Plymouth yesterday, she compared Zaoui's plight to that of Te Whiti-o-Rongomai, one of the leaders of Parihaka who was arrested and imprisoned without trial for two years after government troops destroyed the pa. She goes on:

Some have said it is not our business because this is war time. But that was said also of Te Whiti as people washed their hands of responsibility.

So understand this. The Maori Party stands for Justice, for Maori and for all. We seek an honest country, for the sake of Maori, and for the sake of everybody. We are not here just to define ourselves but to define the country.

I support the call of Amnesty International that Zaoui should have a fair trial, with public exclusion only in respect of those parts of the evidence that the Judges find necessary for national security. I seek your licence to take this position so in honour of the memory of Te Whiti o Rongomai.

The rest of the speech is quite interesting as well, calling for a written constitution and an entrenched bill of rights.