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How many of the 1500 asylum seeker lives lost at sea since 2001 could have been saved?
Zahra (6), Fatima (7) and Eman (9) - the daughters of Sondos Ismail and Ahmed Alzalimi -  three of the 146 children who lost their lives when the vessel that has become known as SIEVX foundered in international waters en route to Christmas Island on 19 October 2001.
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The 'Olong', aka SIEV4 -  with 223 passengers
146 children

142 women

65 men


This boat is not SIEVX.
SIEVX was smaller & carried nearly 200 more passengers.

Paint It Black...

by Marg Hutton
1 January 2003

Breaking news - Abu Quassey will not walk free today when he is released from Cipinang prison in Jakarta having served time for minor visa offences. He will be held in immigration detention while the slow grind of due process is brought to bear, first to deport him and then, presumably to extradite him to Australia on people smuggling charges - assuming that the AFP and the Justice Minister are genuine in their recently declared determination to see him stand trial in Australia.

In recent days the drama being played out in the media around Abu Quassey's impending release has become increasingly farcical - a black comedy with Justice Minister Ellison maintaining that Quassey is 'one of [Australia's] No. 1... fugitives' and vowing that our agencies will relentlessly pursue him 'no matter where he goes or how long he lives'. This claim was patently absurd given that at the time that Ellison made it, Quassey was still in jail in Indonesia.

And despite Indonesia's steps to prevent Quassey from disappearing, both Australia and Indonesia are still washing their hands over the prosecution of Quassey for the more serious crime of homicide - both insisting that they do not have jurisdiction.

Why didn't they know this back in July when AFP Commissioner Keelty told the CMI Committee that he could not give evidence on SIEVX as it might prejudice a trial of (the then unnamed) Quassey for homicide? (CMI 1926-1928)

Quassey has admitted to organising the SIEVX voyage in which 353 people including 146 children lost their lives. It now appears he may in time be charged in Australia with the lesser crime of people smuggling. There must be some doubt about this however, given that we are relying on the 'Keystone cops' who say they are vigorously pursuing him when this provides them with a convenient smoke screen, then sit on their hands while he is close by and then maintain that they can only go all out to catch him if and when he disappears!

Quassey carries with him much crucial knowledge about the SIEVX voyage and any Australian complicity in the sinking. Whether or not he is a 'sting agent', or an object of a sting by the Australian people smuggling disruption program in Indonesia or just a ruthless, greedy people smuggler we know that Quassey was under intense surveillance for three months before the SIEVX voyage. According to the SIEVX chronology presented as evidence to CMI Committee in July by the Defence Department, Quassey and his vessel [SIEVX] were referred to 40 times between 1 September and 26 October in DIMIA Intelligence notes (DINs). Of these 40 DINs, only six were tabled at the CMI Committee and all references to Quassey were blacked out in half of these notes. Of the three remaining notes, there is one - written on the day that Australia first officially became aware of the sinking of SIEVX - which includes one page that is completely blacked out.

One has to wonder what black secrets are hidden under all this black ink?

There are still many hurdles to be jumped before Quassey testifies in Australia. And a trial for people smuggling will not dig as deeply as a trial for homicide.

The SIEVX story still has a long way to run. Now commemorated in stories and songs, the SIEVX Affair is not going away. Over the last year it has become emblematic of the Howard Government's border protection policy.

This web site will continue in its role as a public information clearing-house and will conduct careful and rigorous analysis of the evidence as it becomes available.

We will be taking a break until the end of January, but we are here for the long haul. The National Library is now archiving this web site and we know that history is on the side of truth... ( 9145) | ©Copyright Marg Hutton ~ / 2002-2014