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Urewera case 'politically motivated'

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New Zealand News | Wednesday May 9 2012 16:01

Urewera case 'politically motivated'

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One of the Urewera Four believes the whole case was politically motivated to label Maori and political activists as terrorists.

In March, a jury failed to reach a verdict on whether the group was guilty of participating in an organised criminal group.

The Crown has now decided not to re-try the four.

Urs Signer says he's 'stoked' the five year long battle has come to an end.

He says it's been tough on every one of them and their families.

"People have passed away, including one of our co-defendants passed away while awaiting trial, so it's been a long journey for us, but ultimately we came through it."

New Zealand First believes Parliament is to blame for the failures around the Urewera raids prosecutions.

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters says there were problems with original terrorism laws first used and Parliament didn't pay enough attention to detail when considering them.

"If anybody's to blame, it's us, and we should take the responsibility."

Mr Peters says he never believed Tame Iti was a terrorist because that requires sacrifice and effort.

Meanwhile Mana leader Hone Harawira says handing the Urewera Ranges back to Tuhoe would be the best apology and compensation for the 2008 raids.

Mr Harawira says Tuhoe deserve an apology, and more.

"I'm not talking money but I think if the Crown wants to try and get past this with Tuhoe, now might be a good time to give back the Urewera."

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia believe it's time for resolution.

"A way of bringing resolution basically between the police in Tuhoe. That's for them to work through with the police."

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman believes police do need to make amends to Tuhoe and rebuild the relationship.

And he says compensation for the defendants should be looked at.

"Given that they weren't convicted on any of the serious charges, I think it definitely needs to be considered."

Prime Minister John Key won't comment on the apology but says the law needs to be improved.

He says the original Terrorism Suppression Act was based on any terrorist cell being a foreign one, and that's where problems arise.

Photo: NZ Herald

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