Police officer faces involuntary manslaughter for death of Mawda (2)

Police officer faces involuntary manslaughter for death of Mawda (2)
Credit: Belga

The police officer who fatally shot a two-year-old Iraqi Kurdish girl during a car chase, will be prosecuted by the criminal court for involuntary manslaughter.

The girl, 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 chase started because police suspected the van was being used by people smugglers.

The police officer was charged in December 2019, following a lengthy investigation into the circumstances leading to the child’s death, which caused outraged and received widespread media attention.

The Mons council chamber decided on Wednesday that the officer who fired the shot will have to answer for involuntary manslaughter. Mawda’s parents had asked for the charge to be murder, or assault resulting in death without intent to kill, but the council rejected the question, reports VRT.

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According to them, the police officer should have known that adults and children were on board the van, and so he should never have used his gun.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office, however, agreed with the police officer’s lawyer, that the man did not use his weapon with the intent to injure, let alone kill, reports Het Nieuwsblad.

“He did not know there were people in the car. Additionally, he never pointed his gun at anyone, he only wanted to shoot a tire from the van to force it to stop,” the lawyer said.

Not only the police officer, but also the suspected driver and the smuggler will have to answer to the correctional court, for malicious obstruction of traffic with the death of the child as an aggravating circumstance. 

The officer risks up to 5 years in prison.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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