Man in court over people smuggling
The Australian (Breaking news)
18 July 2003

A PAKISTANI national facing 13 charges over smuggling 396 boat people to Australia in 2001 appeared in a Perth court late today after being extradited from Thailand.

Hasan Ayoub, 33, is the second accused people smuggler to be brought to Australia from Thailand this year, his extradition coming as the federal government continues attempts to retrieve another two alleged smugglers.

Ayoub's arrest - in relation to offences in March and April 2001 - followed a lengthy joint investigation by Australian Federal Police and the immigration department, aided by a number of overseas law-enforcement agencies.

Outside court today, Justice Minister Chris Ellison said Thai authorities had played an integral role in the operation, and he thanked the Thai government for its co-operation.

"This has been a successful operation which started with our request for his extradition in February of last year, and after all avenues of appeal had been exhausted by Mr Ayoub the Thai authorities have now handed him over," Senator Ellison said.

He said Australia was also still trying to have alleged people-trafficking mastermind Abu Quassey extradited from Egypt, while an extradition request had been sought from Sweden for another alleged people smuggler, Khaleed Daoed.

Quassey is believed to have organised the ill-fated journey of an asylum-seeker boat dubbed SIEV X, which sank in international waters drowning 353 people in October 2001.

The extradition of Ayoub, who arrived in Perth at 1pm (AEST), follows that of another alleged people smuggler, Ali Al Jenabi, from Thailand in February.

In the Perth magistrates court late today, Ayoub was formally read the 13 charges, which were relayed to him through an Urdu interpreter.

Defence solicitor Dominic McKenna told the court that Ayoub was also known by the alias Naem Ahmed Chaudry.

Mr McKenna also said Ayoub intended to exercise his right to silence, and would not be co-operating with any attempts to interview him, or be making any statements to investigating officers.

The case was adjourned for four weeks until August 15.


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