Australia convicts people smuggler

8 June 2005

An Australian court has found an Iraqi man guilty of people smuggling, for his role in an ill-fated boat voyage in which 353 asylum seekers drowned.

Khaleed Shnayf Daoed, 37, was found guilty of helping organise the trip on the Siev X, which capsized off the Indonesian coast in October 2001.

But Daoed was found not guilty of smuggling a separate boatload of asylum seekers into Australia, also in 2001.

People smuggling carries a maximum jail term of 20 years in Australia.

Brisbane Supreme Court Judge Philip McMurdo ordered Daoed to reappear in court on 24 June for sentencing.

The jury took two days to decide that Daoed was guilty of helping organise the trip on the rickety Siev X.

Each passenger reportedly paid about $500 to get on the boat, which was heading to Australia's remote Christmas Island.

But a total of 353 asylum seekers - most of them from Afghanistan and Iraq - drowned when the boat capsized in the Indian Ocean. Only 44 people survived.

Prosecutors said Daoed - who was extradited from Sweden to face the charges against him - was working for convicted people-smuggler Abu Quassey.

Quassey is serving a seven-year prison term in Egypt for causing death through negligence over the disaster.


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