The funeral took place in Brussels yesterday (Wednesday) of the two-year-old child killed by a police bullet while the vehicle in which she was a passenger was involved in a high-speed police chase. The child, named Mawda, was from an Iraqi-Kurdish family who were migrating through France and Belgium. Her parents, who were being transported by human traffickers, have been given leave to stay in Belgium while an investigation into the child’s death goes on.
Some 1,500 to 2,000 people took part in the procession to Mawda’s final resting place, in the municipal cemetery of Schaerbeek, situated in neighbouring Evere. Meanwhile the policeman who fired the fatal shot, via his legal counsel, issued a statement giving his side of the story.
The child’s parents, dressed in black while those attending were asked to dress in white, had asked for no speeches and no political messages. The cortège was attended by members of the Kurdish community in Brussels, as well as representatives of organisations concerned with refugee affairs.
The burial itself took place at 14.00, in the absence of the media.
Meanwhile the police officer who allegedly fired the fatal shot issued a statement via his lawyer. The shot was fired, he said, in an attempt to blow the offside tyre of the van, but the officer was unaware there were occupants of the vehicle other than the driver. Also, at the moment he was about to take the shot, his driver colleague made a sudden movement of the steering wheel, throwing him off-balance.
The officer further said he and his colleague had not been informed of the investigation into human trafficking which had given rise to the original car-chase, and never presumed there were people in the body of the van. “At no point did he shoot to kill or to wound,” the lawyer’s statement said.