DAMASCUS, March 5: Two people found guilty of “refugee smuggling” that lead to the much-publicised case of the drowning of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi and four other refugees were sentenced to four years and two months in prison.
On Friday, a court in Turkey jailed two Syrian men, Mufawaka Alabash and Asem Alfrhad, for smuggling but acquitted them on charges of negligent homicide, CNN reported.
They had faced up to 35 years in prison had they been convicted of causing the death of five people “through deliberate negligence”.
Aylan, the refugee toddler whose death prompted an outpouring of sympathy from around the world, and his relatives drowned when their boat capsized during a perilous crossing from Turkey to Greece.
Images of a rescue worker scooping up his limp body marked a turning point in the debate over how to handle the surge of people fleeing to Europe.
The boy and his family were trying to reach relatives in Cada’s Vancouver.
Alan’s mother and five-year old brother also died in the accident. They were buried in Kobani, the Syrian city they had left behind to escape the daily barrage of bombs.
Of his immediate family, his father, Abdullah Kurdi, was the only survivor. Other relatives, including an aunt and uncle, made it to Cada as refugees.
The boy’s family was among throngs of desperate men and women who are fleeing in overcrowded, sometimes deadly journeys by land and sea. Many have children in tow.
So far this year, migrant and refugee arrivals via the Mediterranean have reached almost 130,000, according to the Intertiol Organisation for Migration.
More than 400 people have died making the treacherous journey this year alone, it says. (IANS)