17 Jul 2014

Extradition possible for Iraqi man

9:50 pm on 17 July 2014

A man accused of masterminding a people-smuggling operating in which hundreds of people died could be extradited from New Zealand following a court decision.

Iraq-born Maythem Radhi, who was found living in South Auckland, is wanted by Australian authorities over the sinking of a boat in 2001 on its way from Indonesia to Australia. An estimated 350 people on board died.

Mr Radhi's extradition was stopped by the High Court last year on the grounds the alleged offence was not an extraditable crime because it was not punishable by more than one year in jail.

The penalty for people smuggling at the time had a maximum three-month prison term.

But the Court of Appeal has reversed the decision, saying the sentence could be multiplied for each individual smuggled.

A warrant has been issued for Mr Radhi's arrest and the case has been referred to the district court to consider whether he should be handed over to the Australian authorities.