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MP lacks credibility on hate speech

4 6 1

OPINION: It is an irony of some magnitude that the leading proponent of new hate speech laws in the New Zealand Parliament, Golriz Ghahraman, worked as an intern at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), defending Simon Bikindi who was convicted for inciting genocide.

It is doubly so when you take into account that the defence arguments almost entirely rested on his right to freedom of speech.

While I accept even the most heinous criminals are entitled to a robust defence – and that includes interns, I guess – at the very least I'd be curious to know if Ghahraman accepts the ICTR's ultimate judgment, or harbours any regrets about the role she chose to play defending Bikindi, a folk singer who used his celebrity to encourage the extermination of Rwanda's Tutsi minority, one million of whom were killed over 100 days of slaughter.

Her silence to date on this, as well as on the infamous grinning selfie she took with Bikindi, speaks volumes. After the revelation of her involvement, and publication of the alarming photo, a young genocide survivors' group in Rwanda sought clarification over her role and offered to host the MP on a fact-finding tour of the country. She declined their invitation and denied them a reply to any of their questions – beyond a single,........

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