Green Party Human Rights Spokesperson Keith Locke welcomed the release on bail of Thomas Yadegary, an Iranian who has been held for nearly two and half years without charge in Mt Eden jail, since being arrested on 1 November 2004.
“We celebrate the fact that Thomas, a committed Christian, will now be able to celebrate Easter outside prison walls, for the first time in three years. He has been released on very strict bail conditions that include a 7pm to 7am curfew, and must report three times a week to the police.
“Thomas faces persecution on religious grounds in Iran, where his life would be at risk. Amnesty International has said that it would not now be safe for him to be returned to Iran.
“Thomas still faces the possibility of being deported, since today’s ruling on bail is quite separate from any final judgment on whether he can stay in New Zealand.
“For now, the Greens welcome the fact that he has been released on bail. Thomas has been a model citizen since he first arrived here in 1993. Immigration Minister David Cunliffe should allow him to live and work here,” Mr Locke says.