Accused people smuggler says it wasn't him
By MARK RUSSELL in Perth
13 October 2001
THE man accused of being a high-ranking member of an international people-smuggling syndicate yesterday claimed Australian authorities had arrested the wrong man.
The joint Australian Federal Police/Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs people smuggling strike team arrested a Palestinian man they believed to be Keis Abd Al Rahim Asfoor at Perth International Airport last Friday. The team claimed Mr Asfoor was travelling from Indonesia on a false passport in the name of Iman Dogan.
But the man's lawyer, Mr Michael Tudori, told Perth Magistrate's Court it appeared the wrong man had been arrested and urged Federal authorities to make inquiries into the identity of his client who claimed his name was Dogan not Asfoor.
"On face value, they've got the wrong man," Mr Tudori said.
Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions lawyer Graeme Allen said he would look into the matter.
The accused man was remanded in custody to appear again on October 29 when a bail application was expected to be made.
Federal police claimed the Palestinian was responsible for bringing 1698 illegal immigrants into Australia in 17 different vessels between June 1, 1999, and March 24.
He was charged with 34 people smuggling offences and one count of possessing false documents and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment or a $220,000 fine if convicted.
Outside court, Mr Tudori said identity would be a crucial factor in the case because the Palestinian lived in Jakarta where his wife knew him as Iman Dogan.