People smuggling suspects arrested

From AAP
11 January 2002

INDONESIAN authorities have taken into custody two more suspected people smugglers, who were previously classed as refugees by international authorities.

The pair of Iraqi nationals were handed over to Indonesian police and immigration officials by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Jakarta.

Immigration supervision director Muhammad Indra told AAP the two had been classed as refugees by the UNHCR.

"From today they are being held at immigration," Indra said.

Indra said his department was investigating whether the pair were connected to 29-year-old Abu Quassey. He also went by the names of Cetinkaya Nagun and Attia Mohamed Hasan.

Quassey is alleged to have organised the passage of an Indonesian ferry carrying more than 400 would be asylum seekers to Australia.

Only 44 people survived when the vessel sank off Indonesia last October.

Authorities arrested Quassey in early November, following allegations by some survivors that Indonesian police had forced them to board the vessel.

He remains in police custody but was yet to be charged with violations of Indonesia's immigration law, Indra said.

He could face penalties of five years jail and IDR 25,000,000 fine if charged and found guilty of facilitating the entry of illegal immigrants.

The UNHCR was not immediately available for comment but a source familiar with the case said that it remained unclear whether the pair would retain their refugee status.

Exclusion clauses and character provisions existed within the conventions on refugees, the source said.

The names of the accused are Miythem Kamil Radhia, 25, and Khaleed Daoed, 35.

Sources said they were low-level players in Jakarta's people smuggling network


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