An extraordinary 18 years after 353 asylum seekers drowned at sea trying to come to Australia, an Iraqi man has been extradited from New Zealand to face charges of allegedly organising people smuggling.
Known as SIEV-X, the boat routed for Christmas Island sank in international waters off the Indonesian island of Sumatra in October 2001.
Of the 353 dead, more than 150 were women and children. Forty four people survived the sinking of the overloaded and unseaworthy boat.
Maythem Radhi, then aged 24, allegedly took payment from asylum seekers and organised transport and accommodation in Indonesia before taking the boat to Australia.
Now 43, Mr Radhi was extradited from New Zealand on Friday to face Brisbane Magistrates Court on one count of organising groups of non-citizens into Australia.
He was refused bail on Saturday and remanded in prison until his next appearance later this month.
Mr Radhi has been resisting attempts by Australia to extradite him from New Zealand for a decade, taking his case all the way to the New Zealand Supreme Court.
Mr Radhi, who has previously denied any culpability in interviews with the Herald, has been living in Auckland with his wife and children after he was granted refugee status and taken in by the country in 2009.
The offence carries a maximum of a decade behind bars.
In 2003, Egyptian national and notorious people smuggler Abu Quassey was sentenced by an Egyptian court to seven years imprisonment for manslaughter.
The sentence was reduced to five years and three months on appeal.
Fellow smuggler Khaleed Daoed was found in Sweden in 2003 and extradited to Australia for prosecution, where he received a prison sentence of nine years.
The Australian Federal Police have been investigating the matter since the ship sank in 2001.
Newly appointed AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw said the extradition showed the organisation's commitment to stopping people smugglers.
"Let's not lose sight of the fact that more than 350 people died in this tragedy. They are owed justice and we remain committed to deterring those who profit from this trade."
- SMH/The Age