Kurdish-Iranian family who drowned in English Channel crossing named

Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, Shiva Mohammed Panahi, 35, Anita, nine, and Armin, six — all members of the same family — were crossing the Channel from France in a bid to reach the UK. (Twitter: @HengawO/Hengaw Human Rights Organization)
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Updated 28 October 2020

Kurdish-Iranian family who drowned in English Channel crossing named

  • The family’s 15-month-old baby Artin is still missing
  • French coastguard official said no hope of finding more survivors

LONDON: Four members of a migrant family who died when a boat attempting to cross the English Channel sank were named on Wednesday.

Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, Shiva Mohammed Panahi, 35, Anita, nine, and Armin, six — all members of the same family — were crossing the Channel from France in a bid to reach the UK.

Their 15-month-old baby Artin is still missing.

The family were from Sardasht in western Iran, on the border with Iraq, according to the BBC.

About 15 other migrants on board the vessel were rescued and are being treated in hospital.

A French coastguard official said there was no hope of finding more survivors after a search and rescue operation was not resumed on Wednesday.

Emergency services abandoned their search late on Tuesday because of fading light and bad weather.

An investigation into the tragedy has been opened in Dunkirk by France’s public prosecutor.

Herve Tourmente, deputy prefect of Dunkirk, said the vessel, which appeared to be a fishing boat, capsized about 8 km off the French coast.

He said weather conditions “were not favorable at all.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed his condolences for the tragedy.

“We have offered the French authorities every support as they investigate this terrible incident, and will do all we can to crack down on the ruthless criminal gangs who prey on vulnerable people by facilitating these dangerous journeys,” he said.

Charity groups on Wednesday condemned the lack of action from the British and French governments on the migrant crisis.

The loss of life should serve as a “wake-up call for those in power in France and the UK,” a Care4Calais statement said.

It also called for a new system which would allow genuine asylum seekers to file a case with British authorities from outside UK borders and put an end to “terrifying, dangerous sea crossing and stop tragedy striking again.”

Save the Children urged London and Paris to devise a “joint plan” to prevent the English Channel becoming a “graveyard for children.”

“The British and French governments must work together to expand safe and legal routes for desperate families fleeing conflict, persecution and poverty.

“Parents shouldn’t be compelled to risk their children’s lives in search of safety and no child should have to make a dangerous, potentially fatal journey in search of a better life,” the charity added.

There has been an increase in people risking the journey across the Channel in small vessels organized by smugglers because of a drop in naval traffic between the UK and France due to the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 7,400 migrants have crossed the Channel to the UK by boat so far this year, up from about 1,800 in all of 2019, according to Press Association calculations.


British woman charged with terror offences for sharing Daesh propaganda

Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London heard how the 28-year-old shared extremist videos on messaging service Telegram with an undercover officer. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 2 min 7 sec ago

British woman charged with terror offences for sharing Daesh propaganda

Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London heard how the 28-year-old shared extremist videos on messaging service Telegram with an undercover officer. (AFP/File Photo)

LONDON: A British woman who sent Daesh propaganda to an undercover investigator, on Tuesday appeared in a UK court charged with terror offences.

Muslim convert Aaminah Amatullah, formerly Alison Claire Beech, denied two counts of disseminating terrorist publications, the Independent reported.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London heard how the 28-year-old shared extremist videos on messaging service Telegram with an undercover officer, who she believed was a terrorist contact, in September 2019.

The hearing was told that the first video was an official Daesh propaganda clip, which contained footage of severed heads, battle footage, and messages calling for Daesh sympathizers to carry out terror attacks.

The second showed images of airstrikes and more battle footage in the Syrian town of Baghouz, the group’s last stronghold in the country, and militants waving the Daesh flag.

Amatullah was arrested on Nov. 24 at her apartment in Birmingham, the UK’s second-most populated city, as part of an ongoing investigation by the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit.

Judge Nina Tempia remanded Amatullah, who will now appear for a secondary hearing at the Old Bailey in London on Dec. 18.