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Australia arrests Iraqi smuggler for his role in killing hundreds of refugees

Category: Iraq News

Date: 2019-10-19T11:05:49+0000
Australia arrests Iraqi smuggler for his role in killing hundreds of refugees

Shafaq News/ The Australian authorities have arrested an Iraqi smuggler for his role in killing hundreds of refugees, mostly women and children, 18 years ago.

Where a boat carrying migrants sank in international waters after it set off from Indonesia to Australia in 2001, according to local sources.

Australian police said on Saturday an Iraqi smuggler had been charged in connection with the deaths of more than 350 asylum seekers in 2001.

Maitham Radi, 43, was arrested at Brisbane airport in the Australian state of Queensland late on Friday after being extradited from New Zealand and charged with "organizing the smuggling of non-citizen groups to Australia."

A court in the Brisbane city, in which he appeared before it on Saturday, held him in custody pending the case. He is due to appear again on October 31. As the Iraqi man faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

The Australian Federal Police said in a statement issued on Saturday, "that 18 years after the disaster, the police are still committed to the investigation."

A fishing boat sank in 2001 in the Indian Ocean as it set off from Indonesia for Australia's Christmas Island, killing 353 people, including 146 children. The ship was carrying 421 asylum seekers, mostly Iraqi and Afghan refugees.

Radhi is the third person convicted by the court for his role in the disaster. Two other men have been convicted for their role in the incident, one in Egypt and one in Australia.

Since then, Australia's two main political parties have used the tragedy to justify their harsh treatment to asylum seekers, under the pretext of discouraging them from coming to Australia illegally.

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