[Extracted from Senate Hansard, 11 August 2003, pp.13092-3]
Justice and Customs: Indonesia (Question No. 1229)
Senator Brown asked the Minister for Justice and Customs, upon notice, on 27 February 2003:
(1) Is the Indonesian Justice Minister correct in saying that the Minister has not approached Indonesia to extradite Abu Quessai to Australia; if so, why did the Minister not approach the Indonesian Government?
(2) Why has the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, Mr Keelty, not issued warrants as previously stated?
(3) Does Mr Keelty know:
Senator Ellison:The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:
(1) No. This matter has been the subject of sustained and high level contact between the Australian Government and the Indonesian Government since Abu Quassey was arrested by Indonesia in September [sic] 2001 for immigration offences. I discussed this matter with the Indonesian Minister for Justice and Human Rights on a number of occasions. On 6 February 2003, at my direction and under the cover of a letter from me, Australian officials presented to Indonesian authorities a request for the provisional arrest of Abu Quassey. The Prime Minister also raised the extradition of Abu Quassey in a meeting with the Indonesian President on 15 February 2003. I wrote to the Indonesian Minister for Justice and Human Rights again about this issue on 17 February 2003 and the Attorney-General raised it with the Indonesian Minister during the Australia - Indonesia Ministerial Forum on 11 March 2003.
Also on 11 March 2003 the Indonesian Minister for Justice and Human Rights sent me a letter formally indicating that Indonesia would not extradite Abu Quassey to Australia. Following the deportation of Abu Quassey from Indonesia to Egypt on 24 April 2003, the Australian Government sent a request for his extradition to Egypt.
I can assure you that the Australian Government is doing all that it can to secure the prosecution of Abu Quassey. The bringing of Abu Quassey to justice remains an issue of the highest priority for the Australian Government.
(2) It is unclear which warrants Senator Brown is referring to, or what statement apparently made by Commissioner Keelty. Further detail was sought from the office of Senator Brown, but was not able to be provided.
As a point of clarification, the AFP does not issue warrants, it applies for their issue.
As advised in an answer to a Question on Notice fromSenate Estimates hearings in November 2002, on 3 June 2002 three first instance warrants for the arrest of Abu Quassey were sworn by the AFP with respect to three suspect illegal entrant vessels (SIEVs) known as the Donnybrook, Gelantipy and the Yambuk. The warrants allege three offences of organising the bringing of groups of unlawful non-citizens into Australia and seventy-two offences of bringing unlawful non-citizens into Australia, contrary to the provisions of sections 232A and 233(1)(a) of the Migration Act 1958 (the Act), respectively.
On 6 December 2002, the AFP swore a fourth warrant, alleging one offence of organising the bringing of groups of unlawful non-citizens into Australia and four offences of attempting to bring unlawful non-citizens into Australia, contrary to the provisions of sections 232A and 233(1)(a) of the Act, respectively. This warrant relates to SIEV X.
A total of four first instance warrants have now been issued for the arrest of Abu Quassey alleging a total of four offences of organising the bringing of groups of unlawful non-citizens into Australia and seventy-six offences of bringing or attempting to bring unlawful non-citizens into Australia contrary to the provisions of sections 232A and 233(1)(a) of the Act, respectively.
(3) (a) No
(b) Ongoing enquiries with survivors are providing details which will assist in the identification of victims who died in the sinking.
A list was provided to the AFP from a confidential source after the vessel sank. Provision of any details of that list would compromise that source. It may also compromise a current ongoing investigation in Indonesia. The list purports to contain some details of passengers, but its veracity has not been tested.
The AFP believes it is unlikely that a full and comprehensive list of those who boarded SIEV X or those who subsequently drowned will ever be available.