NZ deports Saudi pilot linked to 9/11 attacks
Ali is the second person deported under a section of New Zealand's Immigration Act which has no right of appeal.Updated: Jun 10, 2006 08:58 IST
A Saudia Arabian pilot linked to one of the September 11 hijackers has been expelled from New Zealand as a security risk, officials said on Saturday.
Rayed Mohammed Abdullah Ali, a United States-qualified pilot, was deported late last month after immigration officials raided his home in the central North Island town of Palmerston North where he had joined the local aero club.
Immigration Minister David Cunliffe said in a statement that Ali was considered a threat to national security because he was "directly associated with" those responsible for the 2001 terrorist attacks, and the nature of his activities in New Zealand.
He was sent back to Saudi Arabia under escort.
Cunliffe would not comment on what specific information the government had on Ali, or where it came from, but told the Weekend Herald newspaper: "We're satisfied he is the right man."
He referred to the US government's September 11 Commission Report regarding "Rayed Abdullah" who lived and trained in Phoenix with Hani Hanjour, the Saudi believed to have piloted Flight 77 into the Pentagon.
Ali had arrived in New Zealand in February on a student visa saying he wanted to be a commercial airline pilot and needed to build up his flying hours and achieve an English language qualification.
Cunliffe said Ali's true identity became apparent only after he arrived in New Zealand and "he used a variation of his name in applying for entry."
Ali was only the second person deported under a section of New Zealand's Immigration Act which has no right of appeal.