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Friday, 16 March 2012
Page: 2051

Presentation

Senator Rhiannon to move:

That the Senate—

   (a)   notes that:

      (i)   Australian journalist, Austin Mackell, his translator Ailya Alwi, post-graduate student Derek Ludovici and taxi driver Zakaria Ahmad were arrested in Mahalla al-Kubra, Egypt, on 11 February 2012, where he was due to interview labour organiser Kamal Elfayoumi,

      (ii)   the crimes Mr Mackell has been charged with, paying children to throw stones at public buildings, carry five to seven year gaol sentences,

      (iii)   the charges are widely recognised as being fabricated, similar in-kind to charges against others who have spoken out against or reported on human and civil rights abuses, and

      (iv)   a free and independent media will play a critical role in the development of a democratic Egypt; and

   (b)   calls on the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr, to urge the Egyptian authorities to drop the politicised charges against Mr Mackell and his colleagues, and to lift the travel restrictions placed on his movements.