A woman who was on the boat carrying drowned Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi has accused his father of being a people smuggler.
Channel Ten reported Zainab Abbas, who lost two children in the tragedy, claims Abdullah Kurdi was at the helm of the boat when it sunk off the Turkish coast.
“He was a smuggler, yes. He was the one that was driving the boat,” the woman told Ten over Skype from Iraq through a translator.
So he was doing it not to reach safety, but to make money. How awful.
It was known, but not widely reported, that they were not in fact fleeing from Syria, but had lived in Turkey for three years.
Abbas claimed she met Kurdi and another man in a cafe and handed over $US10,000 to get them to Europe.
So for the entire boat, how much?
Abbas said there were too many people in the boat and not enough life jackets when it capsized.
Her husband had asked Kurdi to slow down, but he didn’t listen, she said.
Crying, Abbas said she and her husband and daughter held on to a life jacket but her other two children, a boy and girl, were lost.
This is one of the challenges for Governments. You don’t actually want refugees to be travelling by sea to other countries, as it is highly dangerous for them and they get exploited by people smugglers. That is why many Governments say they will only take refugees who come through the UNHCR. But of course if you do manage to reach another country by sea, you may get asylum.
Earlier this week Kurdi blamed Canadian authorities for the deaths of his wife and sons, telling German news site Die Welt that he did not understand why Canada rejected his application for asylum.
But Canada’s immigration department said it had not received a refugee application from Kurdi.
So it seems he may be lying about a lot.