SIEV-X accused to stand trialBy News Online reporter Stefan Armbruster
ABC Wednesday, 27 April 2005. 08:05 (AEST)
The only person to be charged in Australia with people smuggling in relation to the SIEV-X, which sank in 2001 with the loss of 353 lives, will go on trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court on May 17.
The Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) says Khaleed Shanayf Daoed faces two charges of helping organise the illegal entry of people from Indonesia into Australia.
People smuggling carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail.
In April last year, the Iraqi-national's lawyer told the Brisbane Magistrates Court that his client was innocent of the charges.
The sinking of the SIEV-X (suspected illegal entry vessel) on October 19, 2001, was source of political controversy over allegations that federal authorities knew about its fate but did nothing to rescue those aboard.
The Senate's Children Overboard inquiry report in October 2002 rejected those claims but found it extraordinary the sinking went undetected for three days while an intensive Australian maritime surveillance operation was underway.
The SIEV-X sank between Java and north-western Australia with the loss of all but 45 of those aboard.
The wooden fishing boat left Bandar Lampung in southern Sumatra on October 18, 2001 heading for Christmas Island, about 17,000 kilometres west of Darwin.
Daoed's second charge relates to a boat called Yambuk that landed on Christmas Island on August 4, 2001, with 147 people aboard.
He was extradited from Sweden in November 2003.
His lawyer says he is being held at the Arthur Gorrie prison in Brisbane.