Two alleged people-smugglers went on trial in Turkey on Thursday accused of causing the death of 3-year-old Syrian migrant boy Aylan Kurdi — who put a human face on the Syrian refugee crisis — and four other people.
The image of the boy’s lifeless body lying face down on a Turkish beach galvanised world attention on the refugee crisis, graphically illustrating the magnitude of the suffering, the lives destroyed and the treacherous journeys the migrants risk.
The defendants, Syrian nationals Muwafaka Alabash and Asem Alfrhad, denied any responsibility in the migrants’ deaths in their opening hearing, the private Dogan news agency reported. Instead, they blamed Aylan’s father, Abdullah Kurdi, for the deaths — accusing him of organising the trip and of sailing the boat.
Abdullah Kurdi has since returned to Syria.