The body of Artin Irannezhad— a 15-month-old Kurdish-Iranian infant— was uncovered near Karmøy in southwest Norway on New Year’s Day earlier this year. The cause of death has been attributed to an unfortunate shipping accident on October 27, 2020 as his family tried to cross the English Channel from France to the United Kingdom in an overloaded vessel that capsized. The ship reportedly carried 15 other migrants too. 

"Skilled professionals in the department of forensic sciences at Oslo University Hospital managed to retrieve matching DNA profiles," stated the police in a statement. The family reportedly hailed from the city of Sardasht in western Iran, near the border with Iraq. The crossing over was allegedly done as the family was left with "no choice". 

They allegedly paid a smuggler at least 5,000 euros (around $6088) to be ferried across to Britain. The other members identified as Rasoul Iran-Nezhad, 35, Shiva Mohammad Panahi, 35, and their three children also died when the boat sank. Nezhad, a low-income laborer, attempted the crossing after a dire need arose for a financial upgrade after the family waded through a rather harrowing phase after his wife became unemployed. Nezhad’s relative had suggested the move, citing how he could earn at least 100 euros a day and find someplace to live in the UK.

While the body was discovered by Norwegian cops on Jan. 1, the team struggled in terms of identifying it. The identification came through post a DNA profiling, and the corpse is likely to be flown over to Iran and be buried alongside his family. “We didn’t have a missing baby reported in Norway, and no family had contacted the police,” said Camilla Tjelle Waage, head of police investigations, according to ARAB NEWS.

An image of the clothing that Artin had worn at the time of his death was shared by cops. “The blue overall wasn’t a Norwegian brand either (and) that indicated the baby was not from Norway,” added Waage, as stated in The Guardian, reported BBC News. 

The incident sheds light on the plight of Kurdish-Iranian refugees who’re helplessly dependent on smugglers to make a shift to the UK, year after year. Iran’s Kurds comprise 12 million and makeup about 15 percent of the population. The oppressed community is often subjected to systemic repression and vast economic disparity.

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