Jakarta extradites alleged people-smuggler Hadi Ahmadi to face Perth court

Stephen Fitzpatrick, Jakarta correspondent
The Australian
May 27, 2009 12:00AM

AN Iranian-Iraqi alleged people smuggler who claimed he was offered inducements to co-operate with Australian Federal Police has been extradited from Indonesia to face court in Perth.

Hadi Ahmadi's then-impending transfer to face charges over the trafficking of almost 1000 asylum seekers between 1999 and 2001 was heralded last December as a major step forward in co-operation between Indonesia and Australia.

He was finally flown to Perth last night after a last-minute medical examination for an existing heart condition. During a bi-lateral meeting in Bali in December, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Kevin Rudd announced Mr Ahmadi's extradition - at the time it was suggested he might be moved by the end of last year - and Mr Yudhoyono promised Indonesia would implement people smuggling laws of its own. The fact it has still not passed those laws later prompted Mr Ahmadi's lawyer, Joel Tannos, to protest that extradition was illegal "since he cannot be extradited to face trial for a crime that does not also exist here". According to statements tabled during Mr Ahmadi's extradition hearings in South Jakarta District Court, the alleged people trafficker was offered Australian citizenship in 2007 and protection by federal police officers.

The offer came while Mr Ahmadi was in an immigration detention centre in Jakarta.

However, he turned the proposal down, saying he wanted to avoid "political" issues. Mr Ahmadi later claimed an AFP officer wrote to him expressing disappointment he had not accepted the deal.

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