Man charged in relation to 350+ deaths
A 43-YEAR-OLD Iraqi man has been charged over a smuggling venture that left more than 350 people dead when a boat sank in international waters in 2001.
The man was taken into custody at Brisbane Airport on Friday evening, following his extradition from New Zealand.
He appeared before Brisbane Magistrates Court today and has been remanded in custody to reappear in court on October 31.
Police will allege in court the man, part of a syndicate, took payments from passengers and helped with transport and accommodation in Indonesia in preparation for their journey to Australia on the fishing boat known as Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel (SIEV) X.
It sank in international waters exactly 18 years ago on October 19, 2001.
The man has been charged with organising groups of non-citizens into Australia, contrary to migration laws. The maximum penalty is 10 years in jail.
Two other men have faced court over their role in the venture, which the Australian Federal Police started to investigate from the month of the deaths.
AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw on Saturday said the AFP were committed to bringing people smugglers to justice no matter how long it might take.
"Let's not lose sight of the fact that more than 350 people died in this tragedy," Commissioner Kershaw said.
"They are owed justice and we remain committed to deterring those who profit from this trade."