Senator The Hon. Christopher Ellison
Minister for Justice and Customs
Manager of Government Business in the Senate
05/3049, MC05/5603, MC05/10414
[date stamped 18 October 2005]
Ms Marg Hutton
Dear Ms Hutton
Thank you for your letters of 13 May 2005 and 9 August 2005 regarding the case of Abu Quassey who was found guilty by an Egyptian court on 27th December 2003 of offences relating to people smuggling. I apologise for the delay in responding to your initial letter of 13 May 2005. I am pleased to provide the following information in response to the issues raised in your letter.
I understand that Abu Quassey was charged with two offences:
(a) aiding and abetting attempts to enter a foreign country (namely Australia) without effective travel documents, and
(b) causing death by negligence of more than 3 persons.
The offence of aiding and abetting attempts to enter a foreign country without effective travel documents attracts a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment. For the offence of causing death by negligence of more than 3 persons the maximum penalty is 5 years imprisonment.
I understand that Abu Quassey was charged and sentenced for his involvement in people smuggling into Australia on four occasions including involvement with the vessels SIEV X, Yambuk, Donnybrook and Gelantipy.
As you are aware, Australia sought the extradition of Abu Quassey from Egypt in 2003. However, Egypt, like many countries, does not extradite its own nationals. The Australian government will consider any options that may arise for extraditing Quassey in the future, should he leave Egypt.
Senator for Western Australia