Turkey jails two over Aylan death

Turkey jails two over Aylan death


A Turkish court on Friday sentenced to jail two people smugglers on trial over the death of Aylan Kurdi, the young boy who became a poignant symbol of refugee suffering when his lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach.The court in the resort town of Bodrum found Syrian nationals Muwafaka Alabash and Asem Alfrhad guilty of trafficking migrants and sentenced them to four years and two months, the Dogan News Agency said.But it cleared them of causing the death of five people “through deliberate negligence”, a charge that carried a sentence of up to 35 years in prison.Pictures of the three-year-old Syrian toddler face down in the sand on a Turkish beach triggered worldwide anguish when they were published in September.He drowned after his family decided to make the risky journey across the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece in an overloaded open boat.

Aylan’s mother Rihana and brother Ghaleb, four, also died in the same accident as they attempted the crossing from Bodrum to the island of Kos.Aylan’s father Abdullah Kurdi had been implicated in the tragedy, with Turkish authorities originally accusing him in absentia of being responsible for the deaths and driving the boat at the time of the disaster.”The real criminal here, the organiser, is Abdullah Kurdi, who became a hero on television but did not even testify,” Asem Alfrhad said during the trial.The court subsequently decided to throw out the charges against Kurdi.Kurdi became a prominent figure through media interviews following Aylan’s death and delivered an “alternative” Christmas message in 2015 on aired on a rival channel at the same time as the Queen’s traditional address.The sentencing of the two men came as European Union head Donald Tusk was due to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for talks on how to stem the massive flow of migrants into Europe.Turkey has taken in nearly 2.7 million Syrians and 300,000 Iraqis fleeing conflict in the region.


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