Australian arrested in Indonesia over people smuggling

Indonesian police have arrested an Australian citizen accused of aiding a people smuggler.

Heidar Ali is an Iraqi refugee who has been living in western Sydney, but Indonesian police have detained him and accused him of helping a smuggler prepare to send 32 people by boat to Christmas Island in May.

Mr Ali has told the ABC that he is innocent.

"I don't do this business, I don't take money from anyone," he said.

The police say Heidar Ali was caught with a known smuggler and Australian federal agents have analysed mobile phones linking the men to a smuggling syndicate.

Heidar Ali could be prosecuted for aiding illegal immigrants and face a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

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