2 sentenced for 'refugee smuggling' in drowning of Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi

Family of drowned Syrian toddler arrives in Canada
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Story highlights

  • Alan's mother and 5-year old brother also perished
  • A picture of Alan's lifeless body face-down in the waves sparked international compassion

(CNN)Two people were found guilty of "refugee smuggling" in the drowning case of Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi, the Anadolu news agency reported Friday.

They were each sentenced to four years and two months in prison in the death of Alan and four other refugees, according to the news agency.
    Authorities acquitted them on charges of negligent homicide.
    Alan and his relatives drowned when their boat capsized during a perilous crossing from Turkey to Greece.
    The powerful, tragic picture of Alan's lifeless body lying face-down in the waves of a Turkish beach sparked international compassion and condemnation.

    'Collective failure'

    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.
    "Biggest indictment of collective failure," Nadim Houry of Human Rights Watch said at the time.
    The boy and his family were trying to reach relatives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

    Alan's father was the only survivor

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    Alan's mother and 5-year old brother also perished 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 Canada as refugees.

    Hundreds have died at sea this year

    The boy's family is among throngs of desperate men and women who are fleeing in overcrowded, sometimes deadly journeys by land and by 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 International Organization for Migration.
    More than 400 people have died making the treacherous journey this year alone, it says.