Smuggle suspect extradited
By Ben Harvey
24 February 2003
AN IRAQI man accused of smuggling 359 people into Australia faces court in Darwin today after Australian Federal Police escorted him from Thailand at the weekend.
It was the first extradition of an alleged people smuggler to Australia.
Ali Hassan Abdolamir Al Jenabi was being held in custody in Darwin, Federal Justice and Customs Minister Chris Ellison said.He faces 22 charges under the Migration Act 1958. Some offences carry a penalty of 20 years behind bars.
Senator Ellison said it would be alleged that Mr Al Jenabi was involved in bringing 359 foreign citizens to Ashmore Reef.
An AFP spokeswoman said the charges related to illegal entries on:
June 1, 2000, of 36 illegal immigrants and two crew.
October 15, 2000, 33 and three crew.
May 4, 2001, 65 and three crew.
August 20, 2001, 225 and four crew.
"Australia made a request to Thailand for Mr Al Jenabi's extradition in August 2002 and a Thai court determined in December 2002 that he was eligible for extradition to Australia," Senator Ellison said.
"Under Thai law, Mr Al Jenabi had 15 days in which he could lodge an appeal against the determination of the court but he did not lodge an appeal."
The AFP had travelled to Bangkok last week after the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed in writing that Mr Al Jenabi could be escorted to Australia.
Mr Al Jenabi, who was born in Iraq but is believed to live in Indonesia, was arrested in Thailand in July after a request from a joint investigative team of the AFP and the Immigration Department.
"It is alleged that he had a significant involvement in people smuggling but that's something I can't really go into," Senator Ellison said. "The prosecution will outline their facts in Darwin Magistrate's Court.
"This sends a very clear message to people smugglers that Australian authorities will not relent in their pursuit of them and that if they face Australian justice they will face very serious offences indeed."
In August, Thai authorities approved the extradition of 33-year-old Hasan Ayoub, whom the Government alleges smuggled 400 asylum seekers into Australia.
Mr Ayoub has denied the charges, saying he is simply a carpet seller and is appealing against the Thai decision.
Since 1999, when the Migration Act was amended, 440 people have been charged with offences related to people smuggling.