Egypt tries man over Siev X deaths
ABC News (Lead Story)
7 September 2003

A suspected people smuggler has gone on trial in Egypt charged with the manslaughter of 350 people who drowned when a boat taking them to Australia from Indonesia - named Siev X by Australian authorities - sank in 2001, court sources said.

The public prosecutor charged Egyptian Mootaz Muhammad Hasan, also known as Abu Quassey, with the manslaughter of the 350 people in the October 2001 Indian Ocean boat sinking, in which hundreds of mainly Afghan and Iraqi nationals died.

Indonesia, which lacks laws against trafficking in humans, arrested Abu Quassey in November 2001 on suspicion he had organised people smuggling trips to Australia.

It jailed him for six months for visa violations.

Indonesia said in February it would extradite Abu Quassey to Egypt, saying it could not agree to an Australian request for his extradition there for "technical reasons".

Australian authorities had accused Abu Quassey of being responsible for much of the illegal people smuggling from the Middle East to Australia.

The prosecutor said each family of five on the boat, which Abu Quassey owned, had paid $US10,000 for their place, the sources said.

The trial will resume on September 13.

-- Reuters


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