Australian Federal Police
9 December 2002

Arrest Warrant Issued for Abu Quassey's alleged involvement in organising SIEV X

A further warrant has been issued for the arrest of Abu Quassey, the alleged organiser of a major people smuggling ring, the Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty announced today.

"This effectively means there are now four first instance arrest warrants sworn in respect to Quassey for alleged offences relating to organising Suspected Illegal Entry Vessels (SIEVs)," Commissioner Keelty said.

The latest warrant for his arrest is in relation to his alleged involvement in organising SIEV X in which 353 people died when it sank in October last year.

The issue of the fourth warrant in Brisbane on Friday last week follows the compilation of a brief of evidence which was submitted to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution. This brief of evidence in relation to SIEV X includes evidence from interviews with survivors of SIEV X in Australia.

The AFP was not aware of the identity of SIEV X or its departure point or time of departure, nor does it have any specific knowledge of where it sank.

"The swearing of the first instance warrants means an Interpol alert can be issued and it will ensure the AFP is in a position, through the Attorney General, to seek to extradite Mr Quassey should circumstances allow," Commissioner Keelty said.

The previous three warrants for his arrest were sworn on 3 June 2002 and span alleged offences that occurred between February 2000 and August 2001.

All four warrants for arrest relate to offences of organising and bringing groups of unlawful non citizens into Australia and a total of 76 offences of being concerned in bringing unlawful non citizens into Australia contrary to Sections 232A and 233(1)(a) of the Migration Act .

It is alleged that Abu Quassey has been involved in people smuggling from Indonesia to Australia since early in the year 2000. He was thought to initially have worked as a provider of passengers to other well known and established organisers in Indonesia, before he became an organiser himself.

"The AFP is working with other law enforcement agencies in the region to seek to apprehend Quassey in relation to his alleged involvement in people smuggling activities and bring him to Australia to face the charges," Commissioner Keelty said.

Abu Quassey is currently imprisoned in Indonesia and is due for release on 1 January 2003.

Media contact: Anne Lyons 0413 457 253

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