Thursday, December 09, 2004

Zaoui freed

The Supreme Court has ordered Ahmed Zaoui be released on bail into the care of the Dominican Friars. He will have to report to police twice a week and sleep at the friary, but will otherwise enjoy freedom of movement. The government had pushed for release to the Mangere Refugee Center on the grounds that Zaoui was a security risk and that it would be easier to monitor his visitors and communications, but presented no evidence to support their claim; in the absence of such evidence the court really had no option but to order his release.

It's a victory for Zaoui. Tonight he will be able to see the stars and the moon. But while it's an important victory, it's not the war. The key decision is that of the Supreme Court on whether the Inspector-General of Security Intelligence must take the UN refugee convention and Zaoui's human rights into account in making his ruling, and we probably won't see that for several weeks.