Alleged people smuggler weeps in court
7 November 2003

An Iraqi goldsmith facing people smuggling charges broke down and wept as he faced a Brisbane court.

Khaleed Shnayf Daoed, 35, is accused of being a key player in organising the doomed voyage of the overcrowded fishing boat the SIEV-X, which sank north of Australia in October 2001 with the death 353 people.

Daoed is also accused of helping to organise another boat which brought 147 illegal migrants to Australia in August 2001.

The Iraqi national was extradited from Sweden overnight and faced Brisbane Magistrates Court on 12 charges under the Migration Act of people smuggling and money laundering.

Tired and visibly shaken, Daoed wept as he sat barefoot and handcuffed in the courtroom dock alongside an Arabic interpreter.

Wearing jeans and a long-sleeve shirt, he was required to stand up to be formally charged before being led away to the cells.

A lawyer for Daoed, Peter Russo, criticised the federal government for commenting on the case, saying it was "incorrect" for Customs Minister Chris Ellison to issue two press releases and comment on the extradition of the Kuwait City-born Daoed.

"I'm not sure why the minister should be having a press conference," Mr Russo said.

"To discuss the case in any detail would be incorrect."

Mr Russo said the minister was entitled to repeat information already in the public arena but his comments may have amounted to a breach of sub judice laws.

A spokesman for Senator Ellison later defended the government's handling of the case, saying it was fully entitled to detail the information.

"There is no information that was not already in the public record," the spokesman said.

Magistrate Robert Quinlan agreed to adjourn the case until December 8 for a committal mention.

Daoed did not apply for bail and has not yet been required to enter a plea to the charges.

Outside court, Mr Russo said he would seek permission from prison authorities for Daoed, who was a refugee in Sweden, to have contact with his family during his time in custody.

"I will have to make some representations to the authorities for that to happen and hopefully they will co-operate," Mr Russo said.

Daoed is accused of 12 offences of recklessly aiding in the organisation of bringing people into Australia who may not have a lawful right to gain entry.

AAP 2003


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