Advocates maintain calls for SIEV-X inquiry

By Ian Townsend for PM
Last Update: Thursday, July 14, 2005. 10:00pm (AEST)

Refugee advocates have welcomed the jail term handed down to a man linked to the SIEV-X disaster, but say a full judicial inquiry into the incident is still required.

Khaleed Daoed, 37, wept quietly as he was sentenced to nine years in jail for his part in helping to organise a boat to carry 400 refugees to Australia.

The boat, which was dubbed SIEV-X (Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel, Unknown), sank en route and 353 people drowned.

Sue Hoffman, from the West Australian Refugee Alliance, sat through Daoed's trial, and has been speaking for some of the victims' families.

She says the trial and sentencing are not the end of the SIEV-X matter.

"The first thing is, it doesn't bring their families back," she said.

"It doesn't answer their questions about what was known about the boat, the condition of the boat.

"It just doesn't address anything to do with the deaths of their families."

Ms Hoffman says the families of the victims are still grieving.

"They still suffer extremely strong the loss of their families," she said.

"As one of the men says, he lost everything when that boat went down, absolutely everything.

"It's just a huge amount of grief and suffering that never needed to have happened in the first place."

People smuggling ring

Daoed was convicted of aiding people smuggler, Egyptian man Abu Quassey, in attempting to bring people illegally to Australia.

Two years ago Quassey was convicted in a court in Egypt of a number of charges relating to the SIEV-X sinking, including death through negligence.

Quassey was sentenced to seven years in an Egyptian jail.

During Daoed's Brisbane trial, the judge repeatedly reminded the jury that Daoed was not on trial over the deaths, only over his role in the smuggling operation.

But in sentencing Daoed, Justice Phil McMurdo considered evidence that Daoed had been personally affected by the tragedy - some of his friends had died.

Justice McMurdo set a non-parole period of four-and-a-half years.

Daoed has already served two years in pre-sentence custody, which means he is eligible for release in around two-and-half-years.

In other developments: A 37-year-old former Iraqi goldsmith has been jailed for nine years for his role in helping organise a people smuggling operation in which 353 people drowned. (Full Story)


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