Aylan Kurdi smugglers face 35-year prison sentences

Aylan Kurdi smugglers face 35-year prison sentences
Two alleged people-smugglers are on trial for the death of Aylan Kurdi, whose drowning in the Mediterranean brought international attention to the refugee crisis.
1 min read
11 February, 2016
The death of Aylan Kurdi made front pages around the world [Getty]

Two alleged people-smugglers are on trial in Turkey accused of causing the death of three-year-old Syrian Aylan Kurdi, and four other people.

The image of the boy - his lifeless body lying face down on a beach in Bodrum - galvanised world attention on the refugee crisis, graphically illustrating the magnitude of the suffering and the treacherous journeys refugees risk.

The trial against Syrian nationals Muwafaka Alabash and Asem Alfrhad opened in the Aegean resort of Bodrum on Thursday.

The two face up to 35 years in prison each if convicted of the charges of human smuggling and causing the deaths of five people "through deliberate negligence".

Aylan's brother and mother also drowned on the fatal journey from Bodrum to the Greek island of Kos.

At least 409 people have died so far this year trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea, as migrant crossings in the first six weeks of 2016 reach nearly ten times the rate of the same period last year.

In a speech broadcast on Christmas day, Abdullah Kurdi, Ayman's father, asked the world to open its doors to Syrians fleeing conflict.