Australia convicts people-smuggler to 14 years in prison

Featured South East Asia - October 23rd, 2012
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An Australian court convicted a man for organizing the voyage of at least four people-smuggling boats from Indonesia to Australia as Canberra attempts to curb the influx of asylum seekers in the country following debates on the future of the people fleeing their war torn countries.

Iranian-born Ali Khorram Heydarkhani was ordered to serve nine-and-a-half years without parole after the Perth District Court found him guilty last month on charges of organizing the voyages between June 2010 and January 2011, including that of the doomed vessel which capsized off the coast of Christmas Island, killing 50 people.

Heydarkhani was sentenced to a maximum of 14 years imprisonment on Monday for deceiving asylum seekers on the safety and conditions of the perilous journey, AFP reports.

According to reports, Heydarkhani charged people hundreds of dollars, promising them modern and fast ships with their own rooms and food while in truth they were crammed into rickety boats without life jackets.

Asylum seekers have fallen prey to people-smuggling syndicates who have taken advantage of their circumstances. Just last month, Indonesia extradited Sayed Abbas to Australia on accounts of human trafficking.