Siev X extradition case decision reserved

18:10 Tue Dec 11 2012

An Iraq-born man living in Auckland will find out next year whether he will be extradited to Australia where he faces charges relating to the Siev X people-smuggling tragedy in which 353 died.

Maythem Radhi, 31, who came to New Zealand from Indonesia as a refugee in 2009, is accused of being one of three men responsible for trying to smuggle hundreds of asylum seekers aboard the Siev X which sank south of Indonesia in October 2001.

The sinking resulted in the death of 146 children, 142 women and 65 men, while another 45 were rescued by Indonesian fishermen after staying alive for 20 hours.

Radhi appealed a decision in March this year by Manukau District Court Judge Jonathan Moses to extradite him to Australia and a further hearing was held in the High Court at Auckland on Tuesday.

Judge Moses said Radhi should be extradited because he is was accused of an offence punishable by more than one year in prison under New Zealand laws at the time of the offence, which is necessary for an extradition to take place.

However, Radhi's lawyers disputed this, saying he wouldn't face a jail term longer than one year.

On Tuesday defence lawyer Roger Chambers argued there was no evidence the boat reached Australian waters and the allegations didn't constitute an extradition offence.

Crown lawyer William Fotherby told the court Judge Moses "got it right" and that Radhi would face more than a year imprisonment under New Zealand laws if he faced the same charges here.

Justice Edwin Wylie reserved his decision until early 2013.

Radhi, who lives in South Auckland, faces one charge under the Immigration Act in Australia which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail.

He arrived in New Zealand as a refugee in March 2009 from Indonesia where he was assessed by Immigration New Zealand staff.

Details about Radhi's immediate family have been suppressed.


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