SIEV-X people-smuggler appeals sentence

By Johanna Leggatt
22 November 2005

An Iraqi man jailed for nine years for aiding a disastrous people-smuggling expedition to Australia in which 353 asylum seekers died has appealed against his sentence.

Khaleed Shnayf Daoed, 37, was found guilty in June by a Brisbane Supreme Court jury of helping to organise the voyage to Australia of the SIEV-X, which capsized near Indonesia in October 2001.

Daoed was acquitted of a second count of helping organise another boat, the Yambuck, which landed safely on Christmas Island in August 2001, carrying 147 asylum seekers.

Daoed had pleaded not guilty to both counts of people smuggling.

Justice Philip McMurdo sentenced Daoed to nine years' jail over SIEV-X with a non-parole period of four-and-a-half years.

In the Queensland Court of Appeal on Tuesday Daoed's lawyer, Gary Long, said the sentence should be reduced to eight years with a non-parole period of four based on Daoed's lengthy separation from his family.

He said Daoed was unsure of his residency status once he was freed from jail and this added stress should be taken into consideration.

However, prosecutor Glen Rice said Daoed's sentence was already at the less severe end of the scale.

He also cited the serious nature of Daoed's conviction, pointing to the "seniority of his role, the high number of passengers on board, the overcrowding and the exploitation of the passengers ..."

"He was a senior participant in the organisation of it and he's never said to the court, he's never said to the victims: 'I'm sorry for what I've done'," Mr Rice said.

"It's an unfit argument to ask this court for sympathy when he's shown none to the victims."

The Court of Appeal reserved its decision.

During his three-week trial, the court was told Daoed was the "trusted assistant" of smuggling kingpin Abu Quassey in Indonesia and promoted his expertise.

Quassey is serving seven years in an Egyptian prison for his role in the affair.

Daoed's trial was told some asylum seekers had refused to board the ship when they saw its condition and others had jumped off the crowded vessel and onto a fishing boat during the course of the journey.

Witnesses also told the court Daoed charged them up to $1,300 for a small family and at least two recalled some sections of the Indonesian coastguard aiding the illegal voyage.

Copyright 2005 AAP


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