Officer who fatally shot Iraqi Kurdish toddler charged with involuntary manslaughter
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    Officer who fatally shot Iraqi Kurdish toddler charged with involuntary manslaughter

    The two-year-old died after she was shot in the face by a police bullet during a car chase. © Belga

    The police officer who fatally shot a two-year-old Iraqi Kurdish girl during a car chase has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

    The toddler, named Mawda, was shot in the face in May 2018 after police opened fire on a van carrying 26 people, including Mawda’s family.

    The high-speed chase, which involved a total of 15 police vehicles, started after police suspected the van was being used by people smugglers.

    The police officer was charged on 18 December, following a lengthy investigation into the circumstances leading to the child’s death, which caused outraged and received widespread media attention.

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    In the initial stages of the investigation, the family’s lawyer said that police statements about the shooting were inconsistent and that they appeared to be seeking to justify their choice to open fire on the van,  The Guardian reports.

    Two other people are charged in the case: one man suspected of being a people-smuggler and the man driving the vehicle at the time of the incident.

    Both suspects were placed in preventive detention following their arrest abroad, and are being charged with maliciously obstructing traffic after they weaponised their vehicle to escape authorities.

    The police officer was not detained since he was not considered a flight risk or at risk of reoffending.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times