Monday, December 29, 2003

Diplomat says government protected people smuggler Quassey: "A former Australian diplomat today claimed the federal government had protected people smuggler Abu Quassey since the ill-fated voyage he organised resulted in the deaths of 353 people. Tony Kevin, a former ambassador to Cambodia, said the government was never serious about extraditing Quassey to Australia or charging him with the manslaughter of those who died when the Siev X vessel sank on its way to Australia in October 2001."

"He criticised the federal government's failure to nab Quassey, saying it had only made a few phony attempts to extradite him. "They have never been serious about trying to bring Quassey to Australia," Mr Kevin told ABC radio. "They have never, for example, indicated any interest in charging Quassey for the manslaughter of these people."

"Mr Kevin said if Quassey's conviction stood he could not face a second manslaughter charge in Australia. "That's extremely convenient for the Australian authorities because they basically have been protecting Quassey since the beginning of the Siev X tragedy," he said. "The first thing they could do is to set up the independent full powers judicial inquiry that the Senate has three times called for and that the government has ignored. "This is Australia's Voyager disaster, a second Voyager, we need to clear up the stench of what the Australian government did." "

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