Alleged people-smuggler arrives in Australia

Indonesian President Joko Widodo sanctioned the extradition after Australia’s Federal Police charged Ahmad Zia Alizadah with 10 people-smuggling offences.


Ahmad Zia Alizadah was marched through Perth airport after his extradition from Indonesia.

He’s alleged to have taken between US $4,000 and US$10,000 from each asylum-seeker, for journeys on boats intercepted by Australian authorities between February and May 2010.

Immigration minister Peter Dutton told the ABC the extradition is a message to other would-be people-smugglers.

“That’s a very important part of our messaging out to the region, to indicate to people who might be inclined to accept these payments to conduct these illegal activities, that people will face the full force of the Australian law.”

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Immigation Minister Peter Dutton, and Justice Minister Michael Keenan have released a joint statement.

It says, in part:

“People smuggling is a crime with global dimensions that can only be tackled through hard work and cooperation with our international partners. The illegal maritime pathway to Australia is closed, and it will remain closed. It has been more than 1,000 days since a successful people-smuggling venture reached Australia.”

Mr Alizadah is the ninth person to be extradited from Indonesia over people-smuggling since 2008.

Mr Dutton defended the length of time taken for Mr Alizadah to be sent to Australia.

“Extradition proceedings always take time. Both countries need to be satisfied in terms of the process, and they need to make sure it can withstand legal challenge. Obviously there’s information and intelligence exchanges that take place between the two partners and that would have contributed to the delay.

Mr Alizadah appeared briefly in court but charges weren’t read.

The need for a Farsi or Bahasa Indonesia interpreter forcing the case’s adjournment to next week.

Ahmad Zia Alizadah will remain in custody, with prosecutors indicating any bail application would be strongly opposed.