Indonesians charged with people-smuggling following Christmas Island wreck
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Three Indonesians have been charged with people-smuggling by Australian authorities after a shipwreck off Christmas Island last month. Over 50 people were killed when the vessel, carrying mainly Iraqi, Iranian & Kurdish asylum seekers, smashed against rocks on December 15 after its engine failed.
The trio, ages 22, 32 and 60, appeared in a Perth court charged with, "facilitating the bringing to Australia of a group of five or more persons," according to police. The case, which is now adjourned for three weeks, could result in a 20 year prison sentence. The three Indonesians will reappear in court on 15 Febuary via video link. Their attourney, David McKenzie, stated that the men are "unhappy" and that the wreck was "a total tragedy and they're very upset."
A day earlier, an Australian Customs internal report cleared both the Customs authorities and the Navy of any blame, stating that all personnel acted appropriately and exercised good judgment. Eight recommendations have been made to prevent a similar incident, including the establishment of a land-based radar system to monitor northern maritime approaches to the island. The recommendations will be implemented by June 30, 2011.
- "Many unaccounted for in Christmas Island boat incident" — Wikinews, December 15, 2010