Media Release: AFP charges man in relation to Christmas Island boat tragedy

Release Date: Thursday, May 12 2011, 11:56 AM

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) can confirm that a 40-year-old Iran born Australian citizen has been charged for allegedly facilitating people smuggling ventures including the Christmas Island tragedy on 15 December 2010. 

The man was detained by Indonesian authorities on 25 January 2011 and deported from Indonesia to Australia today (May 12).

The AFP has charged the man with four charges of aggravated People Smuggling (involving a group of five or more) contrary to Section 233C of the Migration Act 1958. The AFP has also charged the man with eighty-five counts of People Smuggling (involving individuals) contrary to Section 233A of the Migration Act 1958. 35 of those charges relate to passengers aboard SIEV 221.

Each Section 233A charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and each Section 233C carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment.

The man is expected to appear in Sydney Local Court today (May 12).
Three Indonesian crew were charged on 24 January 2011 with facilitating the bringing to Australia of a group of five or more persons who had no lawful right to come to Australia (Aggravated People Smuggling) contrary to Section 233C of the Migration Act 1958, with respect to SIEV 221.
All three men were remanded in custody. They are due to appear before the Perth Magistrate's Court for committal mention today.

Deputy Commissioner Operations Andrew Colvin said today’s arrest is the result of successful close cooperation between Australia and Indonesian law enforcement and the joint commitment to the fight against people smuggling.

“The AFP and Indonesian authorities have a long history of working together across all forms of transnational crime, in particular in combating counter terrorism and people smuggling ventures,” Deputy Commissioner Colvin said.

As these matters are now before the court it would not be appropriate for the AFP to comment further.

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