The West Australian
9 December 2002
Fourth warrant issued for people-smuggler


AUSTRALIA has issued another warrant for the arrest of alleged people-smuggler Abu Quassey, this one related to the sunken vessel known as SIEV-X, the Australian Federal Police said today.

The issue of the warrant followed the compilation of a brief of evidence which was submitted to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty said.

"This effectively means there are now four first-instance arrest warrants sworn in respect to Quassey of alleged offences relating to Suspected Illegal Entry Vessels (SIEVs)," Mr Keelty said in a statement.

"The latest warrant for his arrest is in relation to his alleged involvement in organising SIEV X in which 353 people died when it sank in October last year."

The brief to the DPP included evidence from interviews in Australia with survivors of the boat-sinking, Mr Keelty said.

The earlier three warrants, which remain in force, were for offences alleged to have occurred between February, 2000 and August, 2001.

The AFP alleges Quassey has been involved in people-smuggling from Indonesia to Australia since early 2000.

"He was thought to initially have worked as a provider of passengers to other well-known and established organisers in Indonesia before he became an organiser himself," the AFP said.

Quassey is in jail in Indonesia on people-smuggling offences.

He is due for release on January 1.

Indonesia's parliament is yet to pass the people-smuggling laws required before extradition proceedings could be successfully instigated.

Australia has sent provisional warrants for his arrest to Thailand and Hong Kong and a red notice has been lodged with Interpol for his arrest.

The three earlier warrants related to smuggling a total of 340 people on three vessels seized by Australian authorities.


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