Denial over illegal boat plansJohanna Leggatt
18 May 2005
AN IRAQI man yesterday denied being the organiser of a disastrous people smuggling attempt that ended in the drowning of 353 asylum-seekers.
Khaleed Shnayf Daoed, 37, allegedly charged up to $1300 for a seat on the boat and told passengers the route was safe, the Queensland Supreme Court was told. Mr Daoed has pleaded not guilty to one charge of people smuggling over the ill-fated journey of the SIEV X, which capsized off Indonesia in October 2001, killing all but 45 people.
Mr Daoed, an Iraqi goldsmith, has also pleaded not guilty to aiding the illegal importation of 147 people to Australia in August 2001 on another vessel, the Yambuk.
The prosecution does not allege Mr Daoed is responsible for the deaths of the asylum-seekers, only that he played a key role in organising the smuggling attempt.
Prosector Glen Rice told the court in his opening address that Mr Daoed was acting as a key organiser for well-known Indonesian smuggling agent Abu Quassey.
Quassey was convicted by an Egyptian court in 2003 of death through negligence and is serving a seven-year sentence.
The court was told that some asylum-seekers refused to board the ship when they saw it and others jumped off the crowded vessel and on to a fishing boat part way through the journey.
Mr Daoed maintains he was not acting as a people smuggler but had other roles including being Quassey's interpreter. The trial continues today.