The terrorist who stabbed shoppers in an Auckland supermarket tried to leave his New Zealand residence three years ago.
But Immigration New Zealand (INZ) said Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen refused to speak to the agency about the application in 2018, and the matter was dropped.
A week ago Samsudeen was shot and killed at the Countdown supermarket in LynnMall by surveillance agents in a 24/7 operation to monitor him. He had used a knife he picked up from store shelves to stab five shoppers and injured two others as well. His victims are now recovering, although some are still in hospital.
Andrew Little, who is the senior minister responding to the Royal Commission Report on the Christchurch terror attack, described what the government knew about Samsudeen in a ministerial statement.
He told parliament this week that officials began reviewing his original refugee claim after he was found with extremist ISIS material and he tried to join the organization’s fighters in Syria in 2017.
“In January 2018, Immigration New Zealand reopened their case and in April of the year they requested the cancellation of their permanent resident visa, their reasons for doing so are unclear.”
Former National Party immigration minister Michael Woodhouse said that raised serious questions.
“The individual actually sought to have his residency revoked, probably to leave the country,” he said.
“It seems extraordinary to me, why don’t we just let him? Not only have we prevented him from leaving when he wanted to, but we have prevented him from returning his permanent resident visa when he wanted to. And then when it seemed like his refugee status was going to go away. to be annulled, I did not want. “
In a statement, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) said it received a request from Samsudeen that he wanted to cancel his permanent resident visa.
“This was after INZ had already started a review of his refugee status. [which started in August 2017]”Said INZ Deputy Director Catriona Robinson.
“Following this request, INZ attempted to speak to the individual about this request, however, he refused to speak to INZ. As such, the request was not processed and INZ continued to review his refugee status.”
Woodhouse said other questions needed an answer, including whether his appeal to the Immigration and Protection Court was filed late and he should not have proceeded, and the delay in hearing that appeal.
He was being stripped of his refugee status, but deportation was on hold while his court case and appeal were heard in court.
INZ said it did consider certifying him as a threat to national security in 2017, but that he could have appealed his deportation whatever route he took.
Little said the country would be reflecting on how someone protected from harm by our laws embarked on a murderous mission.
“We have granted refugee status to an individual, due to an alleged threat he was under, and yet he has posed a significant threat to his fellow New Zealanders. And that is an intolerable strain for any country, and it requires us to examine our laws. “
The National Party yesterday called for a public inquiry into Friday’s attack, saying it highlighted vulnerabilities in immigration and counterterrorism law.
“It is important that a public investigation be conducted so that the interoperability of government agencies can also be examined,” said National Leader Judith Collins.
“Cases like this terrorist interact with the state through agencies and more cooperation is required.”
He said the party also appointed former Defense Minister Mark Mitchell as its counter-terrorism spokesperson and would follow Andrew Little in his role as minister in charge of the Royal Commission.
Mitchell spent 14 years in the police force, including surveillance and the Armed Criminal Squad, and was posted to the Iraqi Tactical Support Unit, which focused on counterterrorism operations.