Police in Norway identify body as Kurdish-Iranian boy who went missing in English Channel

Artin died alongside four of his family members trying to reach Britain

Artin (far left) died along with four other members of his family (left to right) Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, Shiva Mohammad Panahi, 35, Anita, nine, and Armin, six. Hengaw
Artin (far left) died along with four other members of his family (left to right) Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, Shiva Mohammad Panahi, 35, Anita, nine, and Armin, six. Hengaw

The body of a Kurdish-Iranian boy who drowned in the English Channel last year has been found in Norway.

Police in Norway said on Monday the identity of the child, 15-month-old Artin, was confirmed through his DNA profile.

Artin and four of his family members died when the boat in which they were travelling sank in the English Channel on October 27. They were attempting to reach the UK from France.

Norwegian police said Artin’s body was found on the country’s south-west coast near Karmoy on January 1.

A DNA profile was obtained and Artin’s remaining family members were notified.

A report in Norwegian newspaper Aftenbladet reported that police initially faced delays in finding a family member’s profile to match with Artin’s but a relative living in Oslo was located to provide DNA samples.

"Skilled professionals in the department of forensic sciences at Oslo University Hospital managed to retrieve matching DNA profiles," police said.

Camilla Tjelle Waage, head of police investigations, told the BBC the discovery of the body in Karmoy was highly unusual.

"We didn't have a missing baby reported in Norway and no family had contacted the police," she said.

The blue overall he was wearing was not a Norwegian brand, another indication that the baby was not from Norway, she said.

Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, Shiva Mohammad Panahi, 35, Anita, 9, and Armin, 6, were the members of Artin’s family who also died in the crossing. They were from Sardasht in western Iran, near the border with Iraq.

The number of migrants crossing the Channel in dinghies has this year almost doubled compared to the same period in 2020, with more than 3,100 people landing on the English coast by the end of May.

On Sunday, council chiefs in Kent, south-east England, said they were considering legal action against UK Home Secretary Priti Patel because they have reached the “breaking point” of their ability to rehome unaccompanied minors.

The UK government has promised an overhaul of immigration laws, vowing to return migrants to the first “safe country” in which they arrive.

Updated: June 7, 2021 05:25 PM

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