Indonesia jails people smuggler responsible for deaths of about 100 asylum seekers
By Indonesia correspondent George Roberts, wires
Updated Wed 29 Jan 2014, 8:04am AEDT
A people smuggling boss responsible for the deaths of about 100 asylum seekers has been sentenced to seven years' jail in Indonesia.
Hasan Billu, a 54-year-old Pakistani, faced the east Jakarta district court on Tuesday on charges of running a people smuggling operation.
The charges relate to at least two boats that were sent to Australia, one in June 2012 and another last February.
The first boat sank north of Christmas Island killing about 100 people.
The second voyage, in February 2013, made it safely to Christmas Island.
Billu has been ordered to spend seven years behind bars and pay a fine of 800 million Rupiah, or about $75,000.
The sentence was three years lighter than the 10 years sought by prosecutors.
Chief judge Nasir Simanjuntak told the East Jakarta District Court that Billu, who is also known as Javaid Mahmood, had caused the "loss of many lives" by organising the June 2012 voyage.
The judge also said an Afghan man, Dawood Amiri, who was jailed last year for six years for people smuggling, helped organise the voyage.
Bilu said he was not responsible, and used hidden camera footage obtained by ABC News last year to back up his claim of innocence.
In the footage, a former Indonesian policeman called Freddy Ambon boasts about bribing police to help launch boats to Australia.
But the court took the testimony of passengers and a former member of the syndicate, who named Billu as their boss, as the basis for jailing him.
Freddy Ambon has never been found, and Indonesian police have cleared themselves of any wrongdoing.
Billu will not appeal, saying there is no use because Australian and Indonesian authorities worked to frame him.
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