Smugglers Jailed in Syrian Migrant Boy's Drowning

The photo of Alan Kurdi's body brought attention to refugee crisis
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2016 2:19 PM CST
Brothers Alan and Galib Kurdi were killed when the raft they were on flipped while attempting to cross between Turkey and Greece. Their family was attempting to flee Syria.   (Photo courtesy of Tima Kurdi /The Canadian Press via AP)

(Newser) – Two men were sentenced to jail this week in connection with the drowning deaths of five Syrian migrants, including the 3-year-old subject of an iconic photo that brought the world's attention to the growing refugee crisis, the New York Times reports. The photo, taken in September, showed young Alan Kurdi's body washed up on the shores of Turkey. According to the BBC, Mufawaka Alabash and Asem Alfrhad, both Syrians, were found guilty of refugee smuggling in Turkey and were sentenced to more than four years in jail on Friday. They were in charge of a rubber raft that flipped on its journey from Turkey to Greece, killing five people, including Alan, his mother, and his 5-year-old brother.

Both Alabash and Alfrhad faced up to 35 years in prison but were found not guilty of causing death through deliberate negligence. Some have criticized their sentence as being too lenient, while others say focusing on two low-level refugee smugglers won't do anything to stem the waves of migrants risking their lives to flee to Europe. Alan's hometown in Syria was bombed daily; his family was hoping to make it to relatives in Canada, CNN reports. A member of Human Rights Watch called the photo of Alan's body the "biggest indictment of collective failure." More than 400 migrants have died trying to reach Europe this year alone. (Read more Syrian refugees stories.)

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