Hana: An Iranian asylum seeker granted refugee status in Australia could face life in prison after he was arrested at Sydney Airport allegedly trying to smuggle methamphetamine into the country.
Vahid Reza Azadpour Saleh, 31, was given refugee protection under the former Labor government’s policy, after he claimed he would be killed if he returned to Iran.
However, according to immigration records, Saleh spent more time in his home country than Australia, and even went back to Iran to get married,the Daily Telegraph reported.
On New Year’s Eve 2015, the refugee was arrested at Sydney Airport after customs officials searched his bag and allegedly found 1.5 kilograms of ice.
He had been returning from Iran via Dubai on an Emirates flight, and authorities reportedly found the substance in a white towel.
The 31-year-old was carrying an Australian travel document, but also had an Islamic Republic of Iran passport.
Last week Saleh had his bail application denied in Sydney’s District Court, as he awaits trial. There was a hung jury during his initial trial last year.
The court heard he had travelled back to Iran multiple times, and spent seven months in his home country on one occasion despite telling immigration officers in Australia the Iranian authorities were ‘looking for him’.
On another trip he got married, and when he was arrested argued that he should be freed on bail so he could organise for his wife to come to Australia.
Saleh arrived by boat at Christmas Island on April 12, 2011, according to the Daily Telegraph.