Daniel Meers and Ben McClellan (The Daily Telegraph):
The father of the three-year-old boy whose lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach, rocking the whole world to its core, has been accused of being a people smuggler who captained the fateful voyage.
A woman who lost two of her three children on the vessel made the stunning claims to Network Ten via her cousin, who lives in Sydney, on Friday night.
The image of Aylan Kurdi’s dead body was the catalyst for Australia to accept 12,000 Syrian refugees who are fleeing persecution in their homeland.
It was claimed on Friday night that his father Abdullah was a people smuggler who captained the dodgy boat for its entire voyage, capsizing in heavy seas and killing at least 12 people.
Iraq-based Zainab Abbas, via her Sydney-based cousin Lara Tahseen, told Ten News she paid $10,000 for the voyage and Aylan’s father was in charge of the boat.
“He was a smuggler, yes, he was the one driving the boat,’’ she said.
She claimed a separate people smuggler to whom they paid the money had told them the captain was taking his own children on the voyage.
“He said ‘don’t worry, the captain of the boat, the driver, is going to bring his two kids and his wife,” she said.
The woman claimed the boat was travelling faster than its capabilities and had too many desperate asylum seekers on board.
The family of five was told there would only be six on the boat but when they got on there were 14.
“He was going crazy, like speed,” she said.
Turkish authorities have charged four men over the incident, and three have been refused bail. Mr Kurdi was not one of those charged.
Mr Kurdi denied the claims to the Wall Street Journal on Friday night.
“I lost my family, I lost my life, I lost everything, so let them say whatever they want,” he said.