The dad of a young boy who drowned when a boat capsized faces up to ten years in prison.
A man known as Abdul, whose name has been changed for privacy reasons, lost his six-year-old boy at the beginning of November.
The boat they were travelling in from the Turkish coast to the Greek island of Samos capsized, according to Greek Reporter.
The child was washed out of the Aegean Sea onto Samos, where his body was found close to a pregnant woman.
Along with the remainder of the 25 people on board the boat, she survived, before giving birth several days later.
Now Abdul, from Afghanistan, has been charged with endangering his son’s life by Greek authorities, The Guardian reports.
Dimitris Choulis, Abdul’s lawyer, told the publication that the Hellenic Coast Guard had not mounted a rescue mission for several hours after the boat capsized.
“My concern about this case is not only the delay on the rescue mission,” he said, “(but also) there is a bigger concern that these charges are going to be used as one more obstacle to any asylum seeker to actually come here to apply for asylum.
“If (asylum seekers) know that if you get into a boat with your family you will be criminally charged because you put them in danger, then we create more obstacles for people to arrive here.”
Abdul is now in quarantine, as is the procedure for all asylum seekers arriving in Greece.
Once he is able to leave then Abdul will arrange his son’s funeral.
“In other cases of shipwrecks that have happened since 2015, including those resulting in deaths, we never witnessed criminal charges being pressed on asylum seekers during their entrance in the country,” Vassilis Kerasiotis, lawyer and director of HIAS Greece, told the publication.
A spokesperson from the Greek coastguard said they were told of the capsizing in the early hours of the morning.
When their two boats arrived they did not find anyone in the water.
The spokesperson added that a 23-year-old man, understood to be in charge of the boat, has been arrested.