Credit: Abigail Dougherty / Stuff

New Zealand terrorist named: refugee who had not been deported despite order

The man shot dead following yesterday’s terror attack in Auckland, New Zealand, has been named. He was Ahamed Asthill Mohamed Samsudeen, a 32-year-old Tamil who had come to New Zealand in 2011 on a student visa.

He was granted refugee status in December 2013, on the grounds that he had been abducted and tortured on account of his ethnic or religious identity in Sri Lanka. However, in May 2018 his status had been ordered to be revoked after he had come to the attention of the authorities with regard to his public support for Islamic State.

He had been under surveillance since 2016, and was under close surveillance by a reported 30 officers on the day of the attack. Questions are now being asked as to why his deportation had not been processed since it was ordered three years ago, and why if he was clearly considered to be a danger that he was still at large.

Samsudeen had been arrested after the deportation order was made, and in September 2018 had been sentenced to supervision for distributing Islamist terror related material, and having been arrested while on bail in August 2018 for possession of a knife. He had first been arrested for possession of a knife in May 2017.

In the light of all of that, it appears to be rather bizarre that he was still at large, and indeed that his deportation had not been proceeded with. Critics will also contrast this leniency with the heavy handed approach that New Zealand has implemented over the course of the Covid lockdown, which is still at level 4 in Auckland.

Prime Minister Ardern recently came under attack over the decision in July by New Zealand to resettle another Islamic State suspect whose Australian citizenship had been revoked, and who had previously renounced her New Zealand citizenship in sympathy with IS.

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