National's Mark Mitchell plans Karel Sroubek probe, says we don't have 'full picture'

National's Justice spokesperson Mark Mitchell plans to probe the Immigration Minister's decision to grant residency to a convicted drug felon, after he said his life could be in danger if he was sent home. 

Mr Mitchell told Newshub Karel Sroubek's story does not add up. He fled to New Zealand from the Czech Republic on a false passport in 2003, fleeing what he claimed were corrupt law enforcement officials, after allegedly witnessing a murder. 

Sroubek soon became affiliated with Hell's Angels in New Zealand, and was imprisoned for importing drugs, among other charges. He was jailed in June 2016 for five years and nine months after a jury found him guilty of bringing Class-B MDMA powder into the country. 

During Sroubek's 2009 trial for using a false passport, he reportedly said he had been threatened by Czech police, who wanted him to lie and clear the main subject in a murder investigation. It was these threats that apparently led him to flee to New Zealand. 

But Mr Mitchell is not convinced, telling Newshub it's highly unlikely that a country like the Czech Republic would have corruption with its law enforcement. He said a trip to the country is "necessary to actually get some briefings and interact with the government over there". 

"The Czech Republic is a highly developed, successful nation - it's not a Soviet-era third-world country. This is a country that's part of the EU, it's a NATO country, it's in the OECD, and it's wealthier than us," he said. 

"To suggest that they are corrupt and that their own citizens are at risk of being killed by the state would be the same as saying that a Kiwi coming home is at risk."

Mr Mitchell's comments came after the Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway stopped Sroubek's deportation back to the Czech Republic after he was refused parole by the Parole Board in September. The fact that no details have been shared is what has angered the Opposition. 

Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern defended Mr Lees-Galloway's decision on Tuesday, telling The AM Show it was a difficult decision for him to make, and that Sroubek, also known as Jan Antolik, now has a "very clear understanding of the choices he is now making". 

Although Mr Lees-Galloway has not disclosed any details of why Sroubek was granted residency, Ms Ardern suggested it has something to do with the threat to his life back in the Czech Republic. "Why else would a minister make a decision around a case like this?" she said. 

But Mr Mitchell said it seems as if the Government has not looked into Sroubek's claims thoroughly enough. He said the Government's seemingly vague decision "cuts the integrity of our immigration". 

"The only involvement and contact I have with our immigration service is advocacy for my own constituents," he said. "I've had three cases this year where I feel were all very genuine, valid cases that needed fair consideration, and were declined."

"When I see a decision like this made in relation to someone that's been clearly involved in organised crime, both in the Czech Republic and New Zealand, and is granted New Zealand residency which is highly valued, I think it's completely offensive."

When pressed on what it would take to convince him Sroubek's story is true, Mr Mitchell said he'd need to be "convinced that when Sroubek stepped off the plane in the Czech Republic there would be a hit-man waiting there, and that would have to be backed up by substantial and independent intelligence". 

He said disclosing more information on the case would not hinder Mr Lees-Galloway's position, because there is "no law or Act in New Zealand to prevent him". Mr Lees-Galloway has the right not to disclose information on the case, nor does he have to provide a reason for the decision. 

Mr Lees-Galloway released conditions for Sroubek's residency on Monday, which include not getting convicted of any offence in the next five years, not using any fraudulent IDs and not providing any Government agency with false or misleading information.

The Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Sydney, Hana Flanderova, who represents New Zealand, told Newshub the case is being followed closely by the Czech Republic. But she would not offer comment on allegations of law enforcement corruption.