Egyptian jailed for Java sinking

BBC website
27 December - 4.18pm GMT

An Egyptian man has been jailed for seven years for the deaths of hundreds of asylum seekers who drowned when an overcrowded ship sank in 2001.

A court in Cairo found Moataz Attiya Mohammad Hassan guilty of manslaughter and aiding illegal migration after he organised the trip.

More than 350 people - mostly Afghans and Iraqis - died when the ship sank in the Indian Ocean en route to Australia.

Each family had paid about $10,000 to make the journey from Sumatra.

Stepping stone

Prosecutors said Hassan, also known as Abu Quassey, had organised the trip from the Indonesian island on a vessel which was not seaworthy.

The passengers were mainly from Iraq, but there were also Iranians, Afghans, Palestinians and Algerians on board.

The boat was headed for Christmas Island, an Australian territory favoured by immigrants looking to get onto the mainland.

Indonesia is the final stepping stone for many illegal migrants trying to reach Australia.

photo caption: There were just s few dozen survivors from the overcrowded boat


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