Former refugee tells court of abandoning SIEV-X

Last Update: Thursday, May 19, 2005. 12:21pm (AEST)

A former refugee has told a Brisbane court he convinced an Indonesian fisherman to take 23 asylum seekers back to the Indonesian mainland because their boat was overloaded and unsafe.

The evidence has been heard at the trial of Khaleed Daoed, who has pleaded not guilty to aiding in a people-smuggling operation.

Raid Sharmookh told the Supreme Court he was 16 when he paid the alleged smuggler's assistant, Daoed, to help him get him to Australia.

He recalls being loaded onto the overcrowded SIEV-X boat with more than 400 other refugees and heading towards Christmas Island in October 2001.

Rough seas forced the captain to take shelter at an island.

It is there Mr Sharmookh convinced a fisherman to carry himself and 22 other people back to Indonesian mainland.

The SIEV-X continued on its journey but capsized, killing 353 people.

Mr Sharmookh recalled Daoed yelling to the SIEV-X passengers at the start of their journey, "God willing you will arrive safely".

The trial continues.


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