Australia jails Iraqi smuggler

14 July 2005

Australia has jailed an Iraqi man for nine years for his role in an ill-fated boat voyage in which 353 asylum seekers drowned. Khaleed Shnayf Daoed, 37, was found guilty last month of helping organise the trip on a vessel known as SIEV X, which capsized off Indonesia in 2001.

Judge Philip McMurdo said Daoed played a key role organising the trip.

"The vessel was so unsafe that you yourself decided against taking the journey," the judge said.

The judge said Daoed - who faced a maximum of 20 years in jail - should not be eligible for parole before he had served half his sentence.

Since he has already been in custody for two years, he could be eligible for parole in two and a half years.

The SIEV X - Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel, Unknown - was heading to Australia's remote Christmas Island.

But a total of 353 asylum seekers - most of them from Afghanistan and Iraq - drowned when the boat capsized in the Indian Ocean. Only 44 people survived.

Prosecutors said Daoed - who was extradited from Sweden to face the charges against him - was working for convicted people-smuggler Abu Quassey.

Quassey is serving a seven-year prison term in Egypt for causing death through negligence over the disaster.


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