Navy’s warning sparked fatal fire on asylum boat, Coroner finds

Lex Hall; 18/3/10; (2 Items)

A navy warning notice issued to the master of asylum-seeker vessel SIEV 36 was “clearly inappropriate” and sparked a series of events that led to the deaths of five Afghan asylum-seekers in an explosion off the northwest coast last April, the Northern Territory Coroner has found. In handing down his findings into the deaths, Greg Cavanagh said the fire had been deliberately lit and most of the 47 asylum-seekers on board had known of a plan to sabotage the boat. Mr Cavanagh said three of the asylum-seekers – Ghulam Mohammadi, Arman Ali Brahimi and Sabzali Salman – had set fire to the vessel to cripple it in order to prevent its “perceived” return to Indonesia. The three men may face criminal charges, as Mr Cavanagh has referred his findings to the Territory’s police commissioner and Director of Public Prosecutions.

See:; Afghans colluded over fire on boat; Yuko Narushima & Lindsay Murdoch; 18/3/10;

Smuggler faces $3500 fine
Tom Allard; 18/3/10
Indonesia prosecutors have asked that the infamous human trafficker Abraham Louhenapessy – better known as Captain Bram – be fined $3500 and placed on probation for two years after he was caught trying to smuggle 254 Sri Lankan asylum seekers to Australia. Explaining the sentence request, prosecutor Fransiscus Pakpahan told the court – incorrectly – that Louhenapessy, who has been in the people smuggling business for over a decade, had never been imprisoned. He also cited his ”co-operation” with authorities and the fact that he had a family to support. Because Indonesia has no laws criminalising human trafficking, Louhenapessy was on trial for minor breaches of the country’s sailing regulations. In Canberra last week Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised that people smuggling would be criminalised and carry a sentence of five years’ jail.