The Communist League is circulating this letter to several NZ ministers of the crown.
We, the undersigned, are writing to protest against the political harassment of Annalucia Vermunt by officials at Auckland and Christchurch international airports. The latest incident occurred on November 17, 2008, at Auckland International Airport.
Annalucia Vermunt represents the Young Socialists at the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY), and travels abroad regularly to attend the Federation’s meetings. She was the Communist League candidate for the Manukau East electorate in the just-concluded parliamentary elections.
On November 17, Vermunt landed at Auckland International Airport on an Emirates flight from Sydney. Vermunt was detained by customs officials for questioning and advised that she was to be searched for illegal drugs. This included conducting a degrading strip search without her consent. No evidence of illegal drugs was found. Vermunt was then interrogated about her political involvement in the World Federation of Democratic Youth. She voiced objections to being questioned. Vermunt was detained for over four hours.
Vermunt has been previously interrogated about her political views and activities by officials at Christchurch airport in 2005 and 2006.
Vermunt has participated in WFDY since 2001. She was the organiser of delegations from New Zealand to two WFDY-initiated World Festivals of Youth and Students, in Algeria in 2001, and Venezuela in 2005. Vermunt, who is Maori, also organised the indigenous peoples workshop at the World Festival in Algeria. Following that festival, Vermunt has helped initiate speaking tours of New Zealand by representatives of Polisario, the organisation leading the fight for self-determination for the peoples of Western Sahara.
Vermunt has been a candidate for the Communist League in both parliamentary and mayoral elections. As a candidate in this year’s elections, she visited Ruatoki to take part in activities to commemorate the October 15, 2007 “anti-terror” raids and to extend support to those facing charges following the raids. Vermunt is a meat worker and an active union member on the job.
The questioning of Vermunt about her political activities on all three occasions make it clear that this harassment has a political motivation. This is a violation of her rights as a citizen.
We request that the Ministers give an undertaking that officers of their departments will not carry out such political harassment against Vermunt in future.
Hard to see why security would be interested in our Annalucia.