Nine years for SIEV-X smuggler

Australian (Breaking News)
July 14, 2005

AN Iraqi man found guilty of aiding a disastrous people smuggling expedition to Australia in which 353 asylum seekers died has been sentenced to nine years in jail.

Khaleed Shnayf Daoed, 37, was found guilty in the Supreme Court in Brisbane of aiding the organisation of the SIEV-X voyage to Australia which capsized near Indonesia in October, 2001.

He was found not guilty of helping to organise another boat, the Yambuck, which landed safely on Christmas Island in August, 2001, carrying 147 asylum seekers.

Daoed had pleaded not guilty to both people smuggling charges and a jury took almost two days to reach their verdicts following a three-week trial last month.

Justice Philip McMurdo sentenced Daoed today to nine years jail with a four and a half year non-parole period.

Justice McMurdo said Daoed had already served 785 days of his sentence.

During the trial, the court was told Daoed was the "trusted assistant" of smuggling kingpin Abu Quassey in Indonesia and promoted his expertise as a smuggler.

Quassey is serving seven years in an Egyptian prison for his role in the affair.

Witnesses at Daoed's trial testified they were charged hundreds of dollars for a seat on the boat which was overcrowded.

Some even implicated the Indonesian coastguard and police as actively involved in the smuggling attempt.

Throughout the trial Daoed had maintained his role was a humanitarian one.

But prosecutor Glen Rice said if his motivation had been truly humanitarian he would have boarded the passengers on a luxury cruiser and not a vessel that was "ill-equipped".

The trial was an emotional experience for many witnesses, some of whom lost their entire family in the SIEV-X tragedy.

At least two men had to be taken to hospital when they broke down after giving evidence.


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