Why the government failed to deport the Lynn Mall terrorist

We name the dead man and the complexity of his legal status

Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen at Auckland High Court (Herald Photo by Greg Bowker)

Supplied Content
Wellington, September 4, 2021

Editor’s Note: We can now name the terrorist as Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen, of Sri Lankan origin. The following text was issued in the name of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern by her office. As in the case of the terrorist (Brenton Tarrant), she does not name this man.

The lifting of final suppression orders relating to the Auckland terrorist shows Immigration New Zealand (INZ) had been attempting for years to deport him and also sought to detain him while deportation was considered in order to keep him out of the community.

The individual arrived in New Zealand in October 2011. He was 22 years old and travelling on a student visa.

Refugee status application and cancellation

Shortly after arriving, he made a claim for refugee status. INZ declined this claim in 2012, but he appealed to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal and was successful. He was granted refugee status in December 2013.

In 2016 the terrorist came to the attention of the Police and the National Security Intelligence Services (NZSIS).

In the course of these investigations, INZ was made aware of the information that led them to believe that the individual’s refugee status was fraudulently obtained. The process was started to cancel his refugee status, and with it, his right to stay in New Zealand.

In February 2019, INZ cancelled his refugee status. He was served with deportation liability notices. In April, he appealed against his deportation to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal.  He was still in prison at this time and facing criminal charges. For a number of reasons, the deportation appeal could not proceed until after the conclusion of the criminal trial in May 2021.

Terrorist Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen with a firearm (Photo posted online some time ago)

Concerns over community safety

In the meantime, agencies were concerned about the risk this individual posed to the community. They also knew he may be released from prison, and that his appeal through the Tribunal, which was stopping his deportation, may take some time.

INZ explored whether the Immigration Act might allow them to detain the individual while his deportation appeal was heard. It was incredibly disappointing and frustrating when legal advice came back to say this wasn’t an option. 

A person can only be detained under the Immigration Act for the purpose of deportation. INZ was required to consider whether deportation was likely to proceed. That meant making an assessment of what the tribunal would likely find.

‘Protected Person’

Crown laws advice to INZ was that the individual was likely to be considered a “protected person” because of the status of the country from which he had travelled, and likely treatment on return. Protected people cannot be deported from New Zealand. After receiving this advice Immigration New Zealand determined they could not detain the individual while he waited for his appeal. Soon after, he was released from prison, and police began their monitoring and surveillance of him.  

On the 26th of August, the Immigration and Protection Tribunal hearing was rescheduled. At the time of the terrorist attack, the offender’s attempt to overturn the deportation decision was still ongoing. 

This has been a frustrating process. 

Since 2018, Ministers have been seeking advice on our ability to deport this individual. 

In July this year, I met with officials in person and expressed my concern that the law could allow someone to remain here who obtained their immigration status fraudulently and posed a threat to our national security. I asked for work to be undertaken to look at whether we should amend our law, in the context of our international obligations.  

Ultimately these timelines show that Immigration New Zealand from the beginning have sought to deport this individual and were right to do so.

Share this story

Related Stories

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Indian Newslink

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement