Urewera activist keen to start OE now charges dropped

  • 06/09/2011

Omar Hamed is ready to get on with his life and travel overseas now that "unfounded" Urewera firearms charges against him have been dropped.

The Crown says it does not have enough evidence for a case against 11 of the so-called Urewera 18 under the Arms Act, nearly four years the men were arrested in connection with alleged military training camps in the Ureweras.

The decision is a victory for them and their supporters, Mr Hamed says.

"We haven't been thrown to the dogs, we couldn't have survived if it wasn't for support," he told NZN on Tuesday.

He said the police case was completely unfounded and based on the flimsiest of evidence. He also thinks there should be an inquiry into whether the taxpayer should be paying for the Security Intelligence Service and other counter terrorism groups.

"They are a waste of resources. It raises fundamental questions - are these people competent to keep people safe... I am sure the taxpayer will be angry. It's all come to nought."

Mr Hamed said police should also apologise to the Tuhoe people of the Ureweras for the pain they had put them through.

Mr Hamed, who was 19 when he was arrested, is now 23 and holding down a full-time job with the Unite union in Auckland.

He says he is looking forward to getting his passport back and going on his OE.

Earlier, crown prosecutor Simon Moore SC said that firearms charges against 15 people would be dropped as it was impractical and not in the public interest.

Four of the accused - Tame Iti, Te Ranigkaiwhiria Kemara, Emily Bailey and Urs Signer - still face charges of participating in an organised criminal group. They will be tried in February next year.

Police raided alleged military training camps in the Ureweras in October 2007.

Raids also took place in Auckland, Waikato, Wellington and Christchurch, using warrants alleging crimes under the Terrorism Suppression Act.

NZN

source: newshub archive