Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Ahmed Zaoui: the farce has gone on too long

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.


here here

Posted by Terence : 1/16/2007 12:46:00 PM

Doesn't the SIS report directly to Helen? So it is fair to say she is directly implicated in the ongoing farce as she could direct the SIS to put up immediately or shut up.
Of all she's been accused of, this is to my mind the most rank, as it is so morally bankrupt and self-serving.

Posted by Anonymous : 1/16/2007 01:11:00 PM

Members of the SIS are civilians.

Justice Neazor may be 74, but I suspect he will be reappointed ('though perhaps for a lesser term).

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 1/16/2007 01:36:00 PM

"...no longer acceptable"? When was it acceptable?

Posted by Anonymous : 1/16/2007 01:52:00 PM

Even Don Brash, who has seen the "evidence" and is hardly a left-leaning PC activist, is on record as saying it is not convincing. John Key will also have seen the "evidence" by now and Bill English saw it when he was Leader of the Opposition in 2003. MSM journos may like to ask them for their views on the ongoing farce.

Posted by Anonymous : 1/17/2007 08:40:00 AM

Yeah, according to The Hollow Men, Brash was appalled by it and wanted to act on it, but his retainers talked him out of it (if memory serves).

Posted by Ryan Sproull : 1/17/2007 01:47:00 PM