Six asylum seekers face jail

  • 22/12/2015

Prosecutors are seeking eight years' jail for six Indonesians who agreed to sail a boatload of asylum seekers to New Zealand, and allegedly got a cash handout from Australian Border Force.

Prosecutor Alexander Sele also requested a Rp500 million (NZ$53,280) fine or an additional six months' jail, from a minimum five years and maximum 15 years' jail that could be imposed for the people-smuggling charge.

"The leniency factors were that the defendants could reveal the role of Vishvanathan who is the mastermind behind this case, the main actor in this people smuggling," he told AAP from Rote Island yesterday.

"Apart from that, the defendants have been co-operative and polite during the trial."

Vishvanathan Thineskumar, alias Kugan, is the Sri Lankan accused of recruiting the men to sail the boat, however other larger players in the network have been identified and remain at large.

It's claimed the six Indonesians shared a US$32,000 (NZ$47,520) cash payment from an Australian official who ordered them to return the boat and its 65 passengers to Indonesia in May.

The captain Yohanis Humiang, 35, has previously told the trial he negotiated the payment, which was given as capital to start a new business.

The separate trials for the captain and crew, as well as Kugan, resume next year.