Downer: smuggler conspiracy `nonsense'

Adelaide Advertiser

AN Egyptian people smuggler convicted of homicide over the Siev X tragedy is unlikely to ever be extradited to Australia, Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer said yesterday.

He said claims Australia had deliberately not extradited Abu Quassey because of what he might say about the Government's own activities in Indonesia were nonsense.

Retired diplomat Tony Kevin - who is writing a book on the Siev X tragedy in which 353 people drowned in October 2001 when it sank in the Sunda Strait - said yesterday Quassey was collaborating with Indonesian police and that he was protected by Australian authorities.

An Egyptian court sentenced Quassey, also known as Moataz Attiya Mohamed Hassan, to five years jail on Saturday for homicide through negligence and two years for aiding illegal migration.

Mr Downer said Australian efforts to extradite Quassey had been rebuffed by Indonesia.

He said it was a "completely nutty theory" to suggest that Australia was collaborating with people smugglers.


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