Indonesia - Australia

Indonesians charged with people-smuggling in Australia

Reuters/Network 7 via Reuters TV

Three Indonesians have been charged in an Australian court with people-smuggling. The three were charged Tuesday with smuggling a group of Iranian, Iraqi and Kurdish people from Indonesia to Christmas Island, but their boat sunk before it landed, killing about 50 people. 

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"Each of you facilitated the bringing or coming to Australia of a group of five or more people... namely a group of 69 Iranian, Iraqi and Kurdish people," Magistrate Joe Randazzo said.

Hadi Han, 22, Abdul Rashid, 60, and Supriadi, 32, appeared briefly in Perth Magistrates Court but were not required to enter a plea.

They were among 41 people rescued on 15 December after their wooden fishing boat shattered on cliffs at Christmas Island. There were about 90 people on board.

Authorities eventually pulled 30 bodies out of the water, but it is believed that 20 more went  unrecovered.

The charges against the three men have to do with smuggling, and are not related to the deaths.

The maximum penalty for people-smuggling in Australia is 20 years in prison and/or a fine of 220,000 Australian dollars (219,500 euros).

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