On 22 November 2018, Ahmad Zia Alizadah, 35, was sentenced in the District Court of Western Australia to 9 years’ jail with a non-parole period of 4.5 years, for smuggling asylum seekers on boats from Indonesia.
Between 1 January 2009 and 7 March 2010, Alizadah was involved in bringing to Australia some of the passengers on three* boats: the SIEV 100 (February 1), SIEV 106 (February 24), and SIEV 111 (March 7). The boats were intercepted near Christmas Island and Ashmore Reef.
The asylum seekers were then transferred to Christmas Island.
The journeys to Australia were hazardous as the boats used were unseaworthy; one almost sank before the crossing and another became grounded during the trip. Alizadah was accused of arranging holding accommodation and transfers between countries, as well collecting tens of thousands of US dollars in fees.
His role became more intensive after the king pin in the operation, Aman Rezai, was detained by Indonesian authorities between January 2009 and July 2010.
Alizadah paid a people smuggler to move him from Afghanistan before making his own refugee claim in Australia in 2009. He had been granted a visa, but this was cancelled when the people smuggling allegations emerged.
Alizadah was arrested by Indonesian police in 2015, but his extradition did not take place until June 2017.
On 22 November 2018, Alizadah was sentenced to 9 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 4.5 years backdated to 21 April 2015, in relation to three boats:
- Three counts of people smuggling contrary to section 233(1)(a) of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth)
- One count of people smuggling contrary to section 232A of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth).
*Alizadah was charged but found not guilty of arranging for a person to travel on a fourth boat, SIEV 147, which arrived on 12 May 2010.