22 Dec 2011

Prison terms for people smugglers

9:56 am on 22 December 2011

Two Indonesian nationals have been sentenced in Australia to prison for five years for trying to smuggle a boatload of asylum seekers to Christmas Island.

HMAS Bundaberg intercepted the boat off the north-west coast of Australia in January last year.

On board was the captain, Abu Bakar, 69, and crewman Sukarno, 39, with two other Indonesians and 76 Afghani nationals.

Prosecutor Penny Floyd told the Supreme Court in Brisbane on Wednesday that Bakar indicated to a Navy boarding party that he was bound for Christmas Island.

He had agreed to take on the voyage for a payment of $A1000. The ABC reports the court also heard the passengers paid up to $A12,000 each for the trip to Australia.

Bakar and Sukarno both pleaded guilty to charges of people-smuggling.

Justice Glenn Martin sentenced both men to five years in prison with a mandatory non-parole period of three years.