Clark and Dalziel shooting the messenger

Green MP Keith Locke says top-level attacks on the author of a new report on the Zaoui case should not obscure the document’s assertion that Mr Zaoui has been illegally detained since last August.

Mr Locke has criticised the Prime Minister and the Immigration Minister for their unjust attack on Michael Kidd, author of the International Commission of Jurists’ report on the Zaoui case.

“Instead of answering Mr Kidd’s legal arguments for Mr Zaoui’s release from prison, both Helen Clark and Lianne Dalziel have attacked him personally in the strongest language,” said Mr Locke, the Green spokesperson on Intelligence issues.

“Shooting from the hip, they wrongly accuse Mr Kidd of not identifying himself to the prison when he visited Mr Zaoui and of not being independent of Mr Zaoui’s defence lawyers.

“These personal attacks obscure Mr Kidd’s major contribution to the legal debate.

“His report asserts that The Refugee Status Appeals Authority, which gave Mr Zaoui refugee status, is a ‘Superior Court’ whose orders can only be disturbed on narrow issues by judicial review in the High Court. There is no specific provision in the Immigration Act allowing a Security Risk Certificate, such as that applied to Mr Zaoui, to override a decision of the Refugee Status Appeals Authority.

“Mr Kidd argues that the power to detain Mr Zaoui under the Security Risk Certificate provision lapsed when the Refugee Status Appeals Authority gave him refugee status. Therefore there is a clear case for Mr Zaoui to apply for release under habeas corpus,” said Mr Locke.

“Mr Kidd makes a plausible argument that Mr Zaoui has been illegally detained since August 1 last year, when the Refugee Status Appeals Authority reported. It also makes sense that a political decision by an Immigration Minister – to deport someone as being a security risk – should not over-ride such a thorough judicial process as that carried out by the Refugee Status Appeals Authority.

“The government cannot make Mr Kidd’s strong arguments disappear by throwing mud at him,” said Mr Locke.