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Another people smuggler to face Australian courts.



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JOINT MEDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, ALEXANDER DOWNER, MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND CUSTOMS, SENATOR CHRIS ELLISON

18 July 2003

ANOTHER PEOPLE SMUGGLER TO FACE AUSTRALIAN COURTS

The Australian Government, in cooperation with the Thai Government, has today successfully extradited from Thailand Mr Hasan Ayoub, an alleged people smuggler. This is the second successful extradition of an alleged people smuggler from Thailand.

Ayoub, a Pakistani national, faces 13 charges under the Migration Act for his alleged people smuggling activities. The charges relate to Ayoub’s alleged involvement in bringing a total of 396 illegal immigrants to Australia on two boats in March and April 2001. If convicted, Ayoub could face up to 20 years imprisonment.

The arrest of Ayoub followed a lengthy investigation by the joint AFP/DIMIA Strike Team, working cooperatively with a number of overseas law enforcement agencies. The AFP’s international network coordinated this collaborative approach, with Thai authorities playing an integral role.

Ayoub arrived in Australia today and will appear before a Magistrate in Perth.

Australia’s request for Ayoub’s extradition in February 2002 was granted in June 2003 after all his avenues of appeal had been exhausted.

The extradition of Hasan Ayoub follows the extradition from Thailand of Mr Ali Al Jenabi, another alleged people smuggler, in February of this year.

The Minister for Justice and Customs and the Minister for Foreign Affairs welcomed the news of Ayoub’s extradition and thanked the Thai Government for their cooperation.

The Ministers also praised Thailand’s prominent role in promoting more effective regional cooperation in the fight against people smuggling. As coordinator of one of the Ad Hoc Experts’ Groups established by the Bali Regional Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime, Thailand has made a strong contribution to efforts to build regional capacity in areas such as legislation and law enforcement.

The Australian Government is committed to taking action against people smugglers wherever possible and will continue to seek their extradition to face justice in Australia.

Media inquiries: Andrew Park 0418 253 285 (Mr Downer) Michael Barrett 02 6277 7260 or 0419 424 359 (Senator Ellison)