Accused Siev X people-smuggler cries in court
The Weekend Australian
SAT 08 NOV 2003
By Kevin Meade

AN alleged people-smuggler wept in a Brisbane court yesterday facing charges over the Siev X -- the boat that sank on its way to Australia, claiming the lives of more than 350 asylum-seekers.

Khaleed Shnayf Daoed, 36, was flown to Brisbane by Australian Federal Police on Thursday night after being extradited from Sweden.

Federal Justice Minister Chris Ellison said in Canberra that Mr Daoed was an Iraqi national but that his birthplace on charge sheets was listed as Kuwait.

During his brief court appearance, Mr Daoed was remanded in custody until December 8 on 12 people-smuggling charges.

Slim, bearded and dressed in a black shirt and blue jeans, he cried as he stood handcuffed in the dock.

Senator Ellison said Mr Daoed was alleged to have played an important role in the Siev X operation, which ended when the boat sank in October 2001 during a voyage from Indonesia to Australia. He was also alleged to have played an important role in arranging the voyage of another vessel that brought 147 illegal immigrants to Australia on August 4, 2001.

Senator Ellison said Mr Daoed was a co-accused of Abu Quassey, on trial in Egypt for people-smuggling-related offences arising from his alleged role in organising a number of vessels carrying ``intended illegal immigrants'' to Australia.

``These vessels include the Siev X,'' Senator Ellison said.

``Daoed's extradition is particularly welcome given his alleged role in the Siev X tragedy and the Australian Government is grateful for the co-operation shown by the Swedish authorities in this matter.''

The federal Government is seeking Abu Quassey's extradition from Egypt.

Asked if Mr Daoed was a ``Mr Big'' of people-smuggling, Senator Ellison said: ``We allege that he is an organiser and I think that is as far as I can go in relation to that.''

Outside court, Peter Russo, a lawyer representing Mr Daoed, questioned why Senator Ellison had released details of the allegations at a press conference when they had not yet been raised in court.

``I think to discuss the case in any detail would be incorrect.''

Asked why his client was crying, Mr Russo said: ``I think anyone who ends up in custody, it comes as a shock to them.''

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