'People smuggler' faces court
7 November 2003, 7.50 GMT

An Iraqi national has appeared in court in Australia in connection with a people smuggling incident which left 353 people dead.

Khaleed Shnayf Daoed is suspected of helping organise the voyage of the Siev-X, which sank in Indonesian waters en-route to Australia in 2001.

He is also accused of bringing 147 migrants to Australia in August 2001.

People smuggling carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail under Australian laws.

Australian Justice Minister Chris Ellison said Mr Daoed was facing 12 charges under the Migration Act for his alleged people smuggling activities and one of money laundering.

He was reported to have wept during his court appearance on Friday. He was not required to enter a plea, and did not request bail.

Mr Daoed, who was extradited from Sweden, was remanded in custody until 8 December when he will appear again in court.

"Daoed's extradition is particularly welcome given his alleged role in the SIEV-X tragedy and the Australian government is grateful for the cooperation shown by the Swedish authorities in this matter," Mr Ellison said.


Australia is also seeking the extradition of another man in connection with the Siev-X voyage - an Egyptian named Abu Quassey

He is being prosecuted in Egypt in connection with his alleged people smuggling activities.

Prosecutors have charged him with manslaughter, relating to the deaths of the mainly Afghan and Iraqi nationals who drowned on the Siev-X.

Mr Ellison said Mr Daoed's extradition followed the successful extradition from Thailand of two other alleged people smugglers - Ali Al Jenabi and Hasan Ayoub.

"The Australian Government will take all steps possible to ensure the criminals behind the abhorrent practice of people smuggling will be brought to justice, wherever they are in the world," Mr Ellison said.

Australia has cracked down hard on people smuggling and the number of voyages has petered out.

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