Two Convicted In Drowning Death Of 3-Year-Old Syrian Refugee

Drowning Death
A human smuggling operation, which led to an iconic photograph of a victim that spurred efforts to help Syrian refugees, began in Bodum, Turkey, where two men involved were convicted of human trafficking this week. Photo by Michal Osmenda/Wikimedia

BODRUM , Turkey, March 4 (UPI) — Two Syrians have been convicted for human smuggling leading to the deaths of five refugees, including a 3-year-old boy whose drowned body, photographed washed up on a beach, became a symbol of the migrant crisis.

A Bodrum, Turkey, court sentenced Muwafaka Alabash and Asem Alfrhad to 50 month jail terms for human trafficking, but acquitted them on charges of death through deliberate negligence, which carried 35-year sentences. The men abandoned a vessel in September 2015 traveling at night from Bodrum to the Greek island of Kos after seas became rough. The refugees aboard were left to steer the boat themselves.

The boat capsized and among those drowned were four members of a family, including 3-year-old Alan Kurdi. Images of his lifeless body, face-down on a Turkish beach, outraged observers and prompted governments and humanitarian agencies to call for more to be done to help the refugee Syrian population.

The Kurdi family fled Kobani, Syria, which was invaded in 2014 by the Islamic State, and went to Turkey, with plans to travel through Europe and eventually live with a relative in Canada. The family’s father, Abdullah Kurdi, 40, was the only survivor.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here