Accused smuggler to be extradited
By VIVIENNE OAKLEY in Perth
11 October 2003
AN Iraqi national accused of being involved in an attempt to smuggle people into Australia aboard the ill-fated boat known as Siev-X is being extradited to Brisbane for trial.
About 350 people on board the boat died when it sank in the Indian Ocean in October 2001 en route to Australia.
In Perth yesterday Justice Minister Chris Ellison welcomed a decision by the Swedish government to extradite the accused man - Khaleed Shnayf Daoed - to Australia.
He has been in Swedish custody since his arrest in May when he was located by Federal Police and the Australian Government requested his extradition. The trial will be held in Queensland because his arrest warrant was issued in Brisbane.
Mr Daoed will be the third alleged people smuggler extradited to face charges in Australia, while a second man accused of involvement with the Siev-X smuggling is standing trial in Egypt.
"The Australia Federal Police are now putting in measures to escort Mr Daoed to Australia as soon as possible. Mr Daoed is wanted in relation to 13 charges relating to people smuggling and upon conviction this carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment," Mr Ellison said.
"These are very serious matters. It is alleged that Mr Daoed is an accomplice of Abu Quassey who we say was involved in the sinking of Siev-X which tragically involved the loss of 353 lives."
Egyptian-born Quassey, also known as Mootaz Muhammad Hasan, has been charged in Cairo with the manslaughter of the more than 350 people who died when the crowded fishing boat sank in the Indian Ocean.
Australian Federal Police have offered Egyptian prosecutors a brief of evidence and witness statements gathered from 45 survivors.
Mr Ellison said the extradition demonstrated Australia's commitment to bringing people smugglers to justice.
"We have been relentless in our pursuit of Mr Abu Quassey and Mr Daoed," he said.
Mr Daoed is also alleged to have played an active role in arranging the voyage of another vessel which brought 147 illegal immigrants to Australia on August 4, 2001.
Mr Ellison said he was not aware of the penalties faced by Mr Quassey in Egypt, but he understood they would be substantial if he was convicted.