People smuggler jailed in Indonesia
Sydney Morning Herald
5 September 2002

An Indonesian court on Wednesday sentenced the man who organised the fatal SIEV X voyage to six months' prison for immigration offences.

South Jakarta District Court Judge Rohendi said Egyptian Abu Quassey, 29, had "entered Indonesia illegally after being deported".

His arrest came within weeks of the sinking of a boat which he organised to take more than 400 mostly Afghan and Iraqi asylum seekers to Australia from Indonesia.

More than 350 people drowned off the coast of Indonesia when the boat, known to Australian authorities as SIEV X, sank on October 22.

Quassey, who has attributed the fate of the victims of the SIEV X to an act of God, appeared calm throughout the hearing and refused an opportunity to address the court.

The judge said Quassey's sentence would be reduced by the amount of time he had already spent in police detention which, according to his charge sheet, was just over five weeks.

Quassey had already pleaded guilty to the charge, which carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison or a fine of 30 million rupiah ($A6000).

The judgement is consistent with a request last week by prosecutors to impose a penalty of six months.

The court would not recognise Quassey's months in detention under immigration authorities, who apprehended him last November

Quassey has three warrants out for his arrest in Australia for other cases of people smuggling.

However, Indonesian authorities are powerless to prosecute for people smuggling because the Government has yet to pass laws against the activity.

Unlike Thailand, which last month granted an application by Canberra to extradite alleged people smuggler Hasan Ayoub, Indonesia cannot extradite Quassey because people smuggling is not included on the list of crimes on its extradition treaty with Australia.

Quassey goes by a number of pseudonyms and faced court under the name of Mootaz Attia Mohammad Hasan.



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