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New Zealand’s First Refugee Lawmaker, Golriz Ghahraman, Charged with Shoplifting and Resigns

New Zealand's First Refugee Lawmaker, Golriz Ghahraman, Charged with Shoplifting and Resigns

Former New Zealand lawmaker and the justice spokesperson for the Green Party, Golriz Ghahraman, has been charged with shoplifting shortly after resigning from the legislature. Ghahraman, the first refugee elected to New Zealand’s parliament, stepped down, citing the need to address her mental health after news reports linked her to allegations of shoplifting from boutique clothing stores.

Police interviewed Ghahraman at her home and later announced that a 43-year-old woman (widely identified as Ghahraman) had been charged with two counts of shoplifting, following reports subject to ongoing public interest. She is scheduled to appear in court on February 1.

Ghahraman, an Iran-born former human rights lawyer, served as an MP for six years before her resignation. In her statement, she acknowledged work-related stress leading her to act out of character and falling short of political standards. Ghahraman, who faced criticism for her involvement in pro-Palestine protests, had been subjected to continuous threats and pressure, according to Green Party co-leader James Shaw.

In a separate report, Ghahraman admitted to multiple shoplifting incidents at high-end boutiques, emphasizing work stress impacting her mental health. She took full responsibility for her actions, apologized, and asked for privacy to focus on recovery. Ghahraman, an Oxford-educated human rights lawyer, had a notable career advocating for human rights and peace initiatives during her parliamentary tenure.

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