Accused people smuggler loses legal bid to avoid extradition from NZ

SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 1:41PM

A MAN wanted on people-smuggling charges in Australia over the drowning at sea of 353 asylum seekers has lost his latest legal bid to stop his extradition from New Zealand.

Iraqi-born Maythem Kamil Radhi, a New Zealand-based refugee, is alleged to be one of three organisers behind Siev X, a small and overcrowded boat that sank off the coast of Indonesia while bound for Australia in October 2001.

The the NZ Court of Appeal in July said Mr Radhi was eligible to be extradited to Australia, overturning a NZ High Court ruling that his offending would not have earned more than a year’s imprisonment if it happened in New Zealand.

Under the provision of New Zealand’s Extradition Act, an offence must carry a maximum penalty of at least 12 months jail for the person to be eligible for extradition.

Mr Radhi sought leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, saying the Court of Appeal got its interpretation of the law wrong.

But the Supreme Court said that although the Court of Appeal’s reasoning might be arguable, there was no apparent error “of such a substantial character that it would be repugnant to justice to allow it to go uncorrected”.

The case now goes back to the District Court to determine if Mr Radhi is eligible for surrender or refer the matter to the Justice Minister.

Mr Radhi, who was granted UN refugee status before the sinking, has lived in New Zealand since 2009.



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