Minister for Justice and Customs
Senator the Hon Christopher Ellison
Senator for Western Australia
23 February 2003

First extradition to Australia for people smuggling offences

Alleged people smuggler Ali Hassan Abdolamir Al Jenabi has been successfully extradited from Thailand to stand trial in Australia, the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison said today.

'This is the first extradition of an alleged people smuggler to Australia,' Senator Ellison said.

Senator Ellison said Australian Federal Police agents had escorted Mr Al Jenabi to Australia yesterday and he was being held in custody in Darwin pending his appearance before Darwin Magistrate's Court tomorrow.

Mr Al Jenabi, an Iraqi national, will be facing prosecution for 22 people smuggling offences against the Migration Act 1958, some of which carry a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment.

The offences relate to Mr Al Jenabi's alleged involvement in bringing a total of 359 foreign nationals to Australia on four boats between 2000 - 2001.

'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.'

Senator Ellison said AFP agents had travelled to Bangkok last week and escorted Mr Al Jenabi to Australia yesterday after Australia received final written confirmation from the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs that Mr Al Jenabi could be extradited.

'This Government places a very high priority on bringing people smugglers to justice in Australia and I am pleased with the cooperation we have received from Thailand in returning Mr Al Jenabi to Australia,' Senator Ellison said.

'This sends a strong signal to people smugglers everywhere that the Australian Government will take all steps to bring them to justice.'

Media inquiries: Mairi Barton Ph (02)6277 7260 or 0439 300 335

Media Alert: Doorstop: Senator Ellison will be available for comment at his Electorate Office, 89 Aberdeen Street, Northbridge WA, at 12.00pm (WST) today (Sunday, 23 February).

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