Posted on March 18, 2020

3 Men Sentenced to 125 Years Each in Drowning of Syrian Refugee Boy

New York Times, March 13, 2020

Three Turkish men were sentenced this week to 125 years in jail for their part in the drowning of a boy whose death in 2015 became a worldwide symbol of the suffering caused by the Syrian war and the European refugee crisis it triggered.

A photograph of the tiny body of Alan Kurdi, 2, facedown on a Turkish beach appeared on the front pages of newspapers across Europe and around the world, fueling an upsurge in public sympathy and anger at the plight of refugees.

Alan, whose forename appeared in initial reports with its Turkish spelling, Aylan, died with his brother, Galip, 5; their mother, Rihan; and two other refugees when a dinghy carrying 14 migrants toward the Greek island of Kos capsized. From his immediate family, only the father survived.

In 2016, two Syrians, Muwafaka Alabash, 36, and Asem Alfrhad, 35, were convicted of smuggling refugees in the case. A separate investigation was initiated into the organizers of the illegal crossing.

The Turkish police had been seeking three more suspects, and they were eventually captured in the southern city of Adana. A court in Bodrum, the popular holiday spot where the bodies of the children were found, convicted them of manslaughter with probable intent in the deaths of the five migrants.