SIEV-X accused faces trialABC Online
Last Update: Tuesday, May 17, 2005. 8:47am (AEST)
An alleged organiser of the SIEV-X, which sank en route from Indonesia to Australia in 2001 with the loss of 353 lives, will go on trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court today.
Khaleed Shanayf Daoed faces two charges of helping organise the illegal entry of people from Indonesia into Australia.
The SIEV-X (suspected illegal entry vessel) sank between Java and north-western Australia with only 45 survivors.
The sinking sparked political controversy, with the federal Government being accused of knowing about the SIEV-X's fate but doing nothing to rescue those aboard.
The Senate's Children Overboard inquiry report in October 2002 rejected those claims.
The inquiry did report that it was extraordinary the incident passed undetected while Australia maintained an extensive maritime surveillance operation to stop people smuggling.
The Australian Government has rejected evidence that SIEV-X was in the Australian surveillance zone when it sank in October 2001.
The ringleader of the people-smuggling operation, Egyptian Abu Quassey has been sentenced to seven years jail by an Egyptian court, which found him guilty of homicide through negligence and aiding illegal immigration.
Refugee advocates have campaigned for a full inquiry into the circumstances of the sinking.
Those who lost family members in the tragedy are hoping today's trial may help provide them with answers to what happened.
Three Iraqi men from Perth will be watching on from the public gallery.
Daoed's second charge relates to a boat called Yambuk that landed on Christmas Island on August 4, 2001, with 147 people aboard.
People smuggling carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail.