View Count: 161 |  Publish Date: July 11, 2013
Alleged smuggling boss avoids extradition

Sayed Abbas is wanted in Australia on 27 charges.
Australias most wanted people smuggler has been set free by an Indonesian court and granted his wish to be return to his home in Afghanistan.
The South Jakarta court ruled late on Thursday that Sayed Abbas, 30, who was accused of being a smuggling kingpin, could not be extradited as requested by the Australian government.
Chief judge Pranoto said Abbas could go free immediately. But as Abbas was hustled into a car outside the court, his lawyer said that, after the formalities were conducted, his client would be taken to the airport and deported to Afghanistan.
Abbas has made it clear this is his preferred outcome, saying: Yes, Im so happy going back to Afghanistan. Advertisement
The decision is a serious rebuff to the Australian government, which is trying to get Indonesia to take a stronger law-enforcement approach to the issue of people smuggling.
Abbas, who for most of the day had covered the lower part of his face with a green scarf, complaining of dental ailment, said he was happy with the verdict, and that he would take his Indonesian wife and child back home with him.
He had denied during the case, and again aftewards, that he was involved in the illegal movement of people to Australia, saying other people had used his name in their own operations. He also revealed he had once been an Australia Federal Police informant.
Judge Pranoto said the prosecutors had failed to make their case for extradition in three respects.
Firstly the crimes of which Abbas was accused were not committed in Australia, the country which requested the extradition.
Secondly, the crime of people smuggling did not appear on the list of those  mainly political and associated with the military  which Indonesias extradition law contemplated.
And third, even if the crime had been proved, the Indonesian government would have needed to approve the extradition, Pranoto said. It had not done so.
The judge also appeared sceptical that Abbas could have committed the crimes of which he was accused, because he was in jail on an Indonesian conviction for people smuggling at the time.
It was the Australian police case that Abbas had run his operation from his cell in Jakartas Salemba prison.
Australia wanted to bring Abbas to Australia and charge him over the illegal movement of 27 people on two different boats in 2009 and 2011. Prosecutors told the court in May that he had charged between $US5000 and $US10,000 per passenger for passage from beaches near Mataram in West Java to Australia.
Its not part of the indictment, but its also widely believed Abbas was responsible for a boat which sank off the coast of Java in December 2011, killing around 200 people.
Australia has been seeking Abbass extradition since March, 2009, but first he has had to serve out prison time in Indonesia.
The failed extradition request adds to a series of failures in Australian attempts to prosecute people smugglers in foreign jurisdictions.
A comment from the Australian Federal Police was not immediately available.

Time: 10:18  |  News Code: 300168  |  Site: brisbanetimes
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