A great day for justice

Green MP Keith Locke has hailed the Supreme Court decision to consider Ahmed Zaoui’s application for bail as a “great day for justice”.

“I am delighted for Ahmed and his family. The day he is able to live freely in New Zealand with his family is drawing near,” Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mr Locke said.

“At last, after two years, the compassion of New Zealanders is close to being realised. I congratulate the judges wholeheartedly for their decision, which should see Ahmed released by the end of the year.

“This is a major step towards Ahmed winning the right to stay as a refugee, a right which has already been recognised by the Refugee Status Appeals Authority. The Supreme Court has recognised there is a limit to how long the state can detain without charge someone who has refugee status.

“I am sure that, once he is out, people will see Ahmed is not an Islamic extremist or terrorist, and that he has a great deal to contribute to New Zealand as a university academic.

“It is a great disappointment he has had to wait this long, much of it in solitary confinement, to get his freedom. His plight over the past few years has caused great embarrassment for New Zealand. This sorry episode, though it is now close to being over, may be one of the most shameful legacies Helen Clark will leave as Prime Minister.

“This decision inspires me to campaign more strongly in defence of civil and political rights, which have been increasingly under threat in New Zealand and around the world since September 11. There was huge community support for justice for Ahmed, and this decision validates that support.”