Misc 08/06/2021

Norway identifies body of Artin, a Kurdish baby who drowned trying to reach England

The boat in which he was crossing the English Channel with his family sank in January

Mar Bermúdez i Jiménez
2 min
The Artin in Durkerque in October
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BarcelonaPolice in Norway have confirmed the identity of a body found on the coast earlier this year. It is of a boy, a little more than a year old. Artin, who died in the English Channel after the small fishing boat in which he was traveling with four other members of his family sank. The bodies of Artin's parents and two siblings had been recovered, along with another 19 bodies, but the baby had been reported missing. According to the NGO Hengaw, there were 28 people on the boat. They were trying to reach England from France.

The Norwegian police have specified that the body was found by two officers on New Year's Eve on the southwest coast near Karmoy. As it did not match any missing persons report, a genetic profile was made. "Professionals from the forensic science department at the University of Oslo managed to find compatible DNA profiles", as explained in the Norwegian police statement. It was then that the family could be informed and Artin's identity confirmed.

The child's remains will be taken to Iran for the burial. "This is a tragic story, but at least we have been able to give an explanation to the relatives", said Camilla Tjelle Waage, head of investigations at the Karmoy police office.

The boat in which the family was travelling sank in the Channel in October 2020. Rasolu Iran-Nejad, 35; Shiva Mohammad Panahi, also 35; Anita, 9, and Artin, 6, died. The family was from the western Iranian city of Sarasht, near the Iraqi border. Fifteen migrants in the same boat were rescued and taken to hospital and an investigation into the sinking was opened in Dunkirk.

A raw end to a journey for a better future

According to investigations, the family left Sardasht for Turkey in August 2020. There they waited for a smuggler to take them by boat to Italy, where they would then be taken to northern France. On October 27th, in a who knows if it was their last journey in search of a new life, the accident took place. The bodies of all the members of the family were recovered near the wreck, but the youngest son of the family disappeared. In January 2021 the body washed ashore in Norway.

The Kurdish region in Iran suffers political persecution and economic discrimination. As a result, thousands of Kurdish-Iranian refugees put their lives and those of their families in the hands of smugglers in order to reach Europe every year.