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Australian Current Affairs

Indonesia frees Australia’s most wanted people smuggler; allowed to return to Afghanistan


Sayed Abbas

Sayed Abbas

Australia’s most wanted people smuggler has been set free by an Indonesian court and granted his wish to return home to Afghanistan.

The South Jakarta court ruled on Thursday that Sayed Abbas, 30, who was accused of being a smuggling kingpin, could not be extradited as requested by the Australian government.

Chief Judge Pranoto said Abbas could go free immediately. But as he was hustled into a car outside the court, his lawyer said that after formalities, his client would be taken to the airport and deported to Afghanistan.

Abbas has made it clear this is his preferred outcome: ”Yes, I’m so happy going back to Afghanistan.”

The decision is a serious rebuff to the Australian government, which is trying to get Indonesia to take a stronger law-enforcement approach to people smuggling.

Abbas, who for most of the day had covered the lower part of his face with a green scarf, complaining of a dental ailment, said he was happy with the verdict and that he would take his Indonesian wife and child back home with him.

He had denied during the case and afterwards that he was involved in the illegal movement of people to Australia, saying other people had used his name in their own operations. He also revealed he had once been an Australia Federal Police informant.

Judge Pranoto said the prosecutors had failed to make their case for extradition in three respects. First, the crimes of which Abbas was accused were not committed in Australia, the country requesting extradition. Second, the crime of people smuggling does not appear on Indonesia’s list of crimes covered by extradition law.

Third, even if the crime had been proved, the Indonesian government would have needed to approve the extradition, Judge Pranoto said. It had not done so.

The judge also appeared sceptical that Abbas could have committed the crimes because he was in jail on an Indonesian conviction for people-smuggling at the time.

It was the Australian police case that Abbas had run his operation from his cell in Jakarta‘s Salemba prison. Australia wanted to charge him over the illegal movement of 27 people on two different boats in 2009 and 2011. Prosecutors told the court in May that he had charged between $US5000 and $US10,000 per passenger for passage from beaches near Mataram in West Java to Australia. It is not part of the indictment, but it is also believed Abbas was responsible for a boat that sank off Java in December 2011, killing about 200 people.

Australia had sought Abbas’ extradition since March 2009, but first he had to serve out prison time in Indonesia. The failed extradition request adds to a series of failures in Australian attempts to prosecute people-smugglers in foreign jurisdictions.

The Australian Attorney-General‘s department was not immediately available to comment.

Source: Brisbane Times – Court rejects people smuggler extradition
 

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “Indonesia frees Australia’s most wanted people smuggler; allowed to return to Afghanistan

  1. And just a couple of days after the Little Emperor’s Jakarta jaunt. Gives some idea of how seriously the Indonesians take him, and probably the rest of us too.

    Posted by Gregoryno6 | July 15, 2013, 19:27

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