In a shocking turn of events, Abdullah Kurdi went on trial on Thursday in Turkey along with two alleged people smugglers accused of causing the death of migrants.
While people have fled conflict in the Middle East for a couple of years now, it was only after the heartbreaking images of Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body lying on a beach went viral that the world truly realized the grim reality of the refugee crisis brewing in Europe.
Aylan’s tragic death was a necessary wake-up call, not only to turn the world’s attention toward the refugee crisis but also toward human traffickers who have been playing with innocent people’s lives since time immemorial.
The 3-year-old Syrian boy washed up dead on a shore as his family tried to get to Turkey on a migrant boat. His mother Rihana and brother Ghaleb also died in the same accident.
Abdullah was the only member of his family who survived the sinking of the vessel.
“I was holding my wife’s hand,” he told Turkey’s Dogan news agency in December. “But my children slipped through my hands. It was dark and everyone was screaming.
“I tried to catch my wife and children but there was no hope. One by one, they died.”
There have been accusations against him previously of organizing the trafficking. Two passengers, Amir Haider and Zainab Abbas, who were on board the same boat in which Aylan drowned, claimed the boy's father was responsible for the tragedy because he was driving.
If convicted, the Syrian defendants face up to 35 years in jail.