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Refugee witness at smuggling trial

Brisbane Supreme District Court
Brisbane Supreme District Court Rae Wilson

NASIR Rezai was willing to do whatever it took to get to Australia.

The Afghanistan national had already watched his sister and her children die while trying to get to Australia but he had no other choice but to push on.

Now, he is safe from persecution and living in Rockhampton.

Mr Rezai gave evidence in the trial of an Indonesian men accused of smuggling him to Australia in 2010.

Tarang pleaded not guilty in Brisbane District Court on Monday to organising the bringing of a group of non-citizens into Australia.

The Crown alleges Tarang and another man brought 39 Afghan asylum seekers from Indonesia to Australia in May, 2010.

Five witnesses, including Mr Rezai, in the trial were passengers on the boat.

Mr Rezai told the court through a translator on Tuesday he had no other choice but to come to Australia.

"Imagine this … somebody I see is going to kill me and I know this," he said of his situation in Afghanistan.

"It does not matter to me if I escape whether it be water, fire, Australia or Europe - somehow I had to save my life."

Mr Rezai spoke very emotively as he told of how his sister and her two young children died when they tried to cross the ocean.

"Even though I know you (can lose your life) in this ocean, I had no option but to come here," he said.

The Crown said Customs intercepted the boat 30 nautical miles south of Ashmore Reef, north west of Western Australia, at 5.15pm on May 18, 2010.

Mr Rezai said he was worried what would happen to him when he first saw the Customs boat.

To his relief, Mr Rezai said Customs officers were very good people and calmed him down.

But under no circumstances did Mr Rezai want to return to Afghanistan, he said.

The Crown alleged the asylum seeker boat left North Sulawesi and travelled for six days to Ashmore Reef.

Each of the asylum seekers paid an Indonesian man to get them to Australia.

Each of the Afghan nationals stayed in Indonesia for a short period of time before they were taken at night through the jungle to an isolated beach and then ferried to the boat, the Crown alleged.

The passengers were crammed below deck and were forced to breathe in diesel fumes, which made many people "extremely sick", the Crown prosecutor said in his opening.

The trial continues.

Topics:  court people smuggling trial



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