The Zaoui case : Latest Developments
Amnesty International welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision released on 25 November regarding the availability of bail. The Court will reconvene on 9 December to hear arguments on whether Ahmed Zaoui will be granted bail, and on what conditions.
The Court found that further delays in Mr Zaoui’s case would be ‘oppressive’, and in a rare move decided to hear the bail application themselves. In response, AI commended the Court for calling for the process to be made less arbitrary and unfair.
Amnesty International welcomed the Court of Appeal’s decision handed down on 1 October 2004 that Ahmed Zaoui can only be sent back to persecution if there is a « danger of substantial threatened harm to the security of New Zealand. »
In a unanimous decision, the Court rejected the Government’s appeal against a High Court decision that the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security must take human rights standards into account in his review of the security risk certificate that has kept Mr Zaoui in prison for almost 2 years despite his refugee status.
The Court found that the ‘threat to national security’ alleged by the Director of Security on the basis of secret intelligence information must be sufficient to outweigh Mr Zaoui’s human right to asylum from persecution, and that ‘an appreciable alleviation of that danger must be capable of being achieved through his deportation.’
The Crown is currently seeking the permission of the Supreme Court to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision.
Amnesty International believes that the Inspector General should adopt a review process which adheres to the guidelines laid down by the European Court of Human Rights – a process which recognises the special nature of national security cases while affirming and protecting the fundamental human rights of suspects.
The security risk certificate issued against Mr Zaoui by the SIS will be reviewed by Justice Neazor, who took up the role of Inspector General on Tuesday 8 June, replacing Justice Greig following his resignation in April after a High Court finding of apparent bias against Mr Zaoui.
L’Algérien Ahmed Zaoui croupit dans une prison néo-zélandaise depuis décembre 2002 après une odyssée planétaire (Dossier de Quibla)