People smuggler faces Australian extradition

5 December 2011

An alleged people smuggler currently living in south Auckland faces extradition and up to 20 years in an Australian jail.

Iraq-born Maythem Radhi will make another appearance in the Manukau District Court this morning.

He is wanted in Australia for facilitating a proposed entry of five or more non-citizens, a charge which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

The 34-year-old moved to New Zealand in 2009 and is allegedly one of three men responsible for the SIEV X disaster in 2001, where a vessel carrying hundreds of people sank on its way to Christmas Island.

The tragedy claimed the lives of 350 asylum seekers.

Radhi is alleged to have been present while negotiations about the price and terms of travel were agreed, and also took payments from some passengers and helped them board the vessel, Fairfax media reported.

Australian police were unable to locate Radhi until he was tracked down to his south Auckland home earlier this year.

Two other men have been jailed for their parts in organising the voyage.

Abu Quassey was sentenced to seven years in an Egyptian jail while Khaleed Daoed is serving nine years in a Queensland prison after being convicted in 2005. Advertisement

The case hinges on whether it can be proved that New Zealand carried a similar law to Australia's at the time of the offence and whether it carried a sentence of more than a year.


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