July 11, 2013
An Indonesian court has ruled against extraditing accused people smuggler Sayed Abbas to Australia to face charges.
Abbas is wanted in Australia on 27 charges of people smuggling relating to three boat trips that left Indonesia between 2009 and 2011.
The Federal Government has been seeking Abbas’s extradition for years.
After months of hearings, the chief justice of the South Jakarta District Court denied the extradition request.
The judge said the offences, if they did occur, were not within Australia’s jurisdiction because people smuggling is not included in Australia’s extradition treaty with Indonesia.
The judge said if it was to be a political extradition arranged between Australia and Indonesia, a letter from Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono would be needed.
No such letter was provided.
Abbas said he was very happy and relieved with the decision.
He denied the charges against him and has said he was asked to gather information about boat movements for the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
The AFP has not confirmed or denied that claim.
Abbas is now walking free and defence lawyers and prosecutors say the court’s decision cannot be appealed.
The Australian Government is now hoping for intervention from Mr Yudhoyono.
“The case will now be transferred to the Indonesian president for a final determination whether to surrender Mr Abbas to Australia,” a spokesman for Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said in a statement.
“Until a final determination is made, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
Abbas would face a maximum of 20 years in prison if found guilty of the Australian charges.