Man jailed for smuggling operation SIEV-X

A man involved in a people-smuggling operation that culminated in hundreds of deaths more than 20 years ago when an overloaded ship sank en route to Australia has been sentenced to seven years behind bars.

Maythem Kamil Radhi is immediately eligible for parole after serving three years and a week in prison.

Radhi pleaded not guilty to facilitating the proposed entry of at least five non-citizens into Australia between July 1 and October 19, 2001.

Maythem Kamil Radhi is immediately eligible for parole after serving three years and a week in prison. (Delivered)

After less than five hours of deliberation, a jury on Wednesday found the 46-year-old father of three guilty.

Over five days, the Brisbane Supreme Court trial heard six passengers who were among the hundreds of asylum seekers who boarded the boat, which came to be known as Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel X (SIEV-X), in Indonesia.

The six, with 17 others, escaped before the SIEV-X sank in the Indian Ocean on October 19, 2001, while another 45 were rescued.

But the tragedy claimed the lives of hundreds of people, estimated to be more than 300, including a significant number of children, Judge Lincoln Crowley said in sentencing Radhi.

He was not accused of being the linchpin behind the people smuggling, but instead of being part of a group led by Egyptian-born Abu Quassey.

In 2003, Quassey, aka Moataz Attiya Mohamed Hassan, was found guilty in a Cairo court of manslaughter for organizing the ill-fated trip.

The Brisbane Supreme Court trial heard from six passengers who were among the hundreds of asylum seekers who boarded the boat, which came to be known as Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel X (SIEV-X), in Indonesia.
The Brisbane Supreme Court trial heard from six passengers who were among the hundreds of asylum seekers who boarded the boat, which came to be known as Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel X (SIEV-X), in Indonesia. (9News)

He was sentenced to five years behind bars for negligent homicide and another two for aiding illegal migration.

Iraqi-born Khaleed Shnayf Daoed was sentenced to nine years in prison after being convicted by the Brisbane Supreme Court in 2005 for his part in the fatal expedition.

Radhi helped facilitate the operation by, among other things, raising funds, arranging buses, visiting places where passengers stayed for the trip and helping to organize asylum seekers at the ship’s departure point on the beach, prosecutors argued at the trial.

The only logical explanation for his presence leading up to the asylum seekers boarding the boat is that he was a smuggler, prosecutor Chris Shanahan said.

“His involvement was consistent, sustained and hands-on.”

Shanahan said the smugglers led by Quassey were motivated by money and sold places on boats to Australia for profit.

The passengers who testified at the trial said they had to pay up to $1,000 each to board.

Man jailed for smuggling operation SIEV-X
Over five days, the Brisbane Supreme Court trial heard six passengers who were among the hundreds of asylum seekers who boarded the boat, which came to be known as Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel X (SIEV-X), in Indonesia. (Nine)

Defense attorney Mark McCarthy wondered if Radhi was doing anything for the hundreds of asylum seekers in Indonesia with the express intention of making their intended entry into Australia easier.

The asylum seekers were incredibly determined to get on the boat, despite it being clearly unsafe, in hopes of reaching Australia.

“I imagine that the things he (Radhi) did – which you also agree with – made no difference at all.”

McCarthy also wondered why Quassey—who sent people out in extremely dangerous circumstances—would tell Radhi more than was necessary.

“Why do you think Maythem Radhi isn’t a dupe too?”

Radhi was extradited to Australia in 2019, about eight years after an arrest warrant was issued by the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

The trial was delayed as his eligibility for extradition was challenged in courts in New Zealand, where he had lived with his wife and children since 2009 after being registered as a refugee with the United Nations.

Radhi has been in custody since his arrival in Australia after being refused bail twice.

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