Family of toddler shot dead by police may stay in the country
Share article:
Share article:

Family of toddler shot dead by police may stay in the country

© Belga
© Belga

The family of Mawda Shawri, the two-year-old shot dead by police during a car chase as they were entering the country illegally, have been granted a residence permit to allow them to stay in Belgium for at least a year, migration minister Maggie De Block has decided. The Kurdish parents, their son and the child were in a van with a number of other migrants, being driven into Belgium by human traffickers in May last year. Police gave chase, and when the van refused to stop, a police officer fired a shot aimed at the van’s tyres. However the shot missed and instead pierced the van and killed Mawda.

Police were later condemned for firing shots from one moving vehicle towards another, knowing there were people on board.

In a press release, De Block’s ministry explained the family (photo) had been granted a humanitarian visa valid for one year initially, which can be renewed. The leave to stay will allow the family “to follow the judicial investigation in complete serenity,” the ministry said.

De Block told VRT News: “I only approve a humanitarian visa in exceptional circumstances and for very specific cases. This family qualifies on every level. Mawda was shot before the eyes of her parents and brother, and died in their arms. They lost a child in unusual circumstances, and losing a child is the worst thing that can happen to a person. And the judicial investigation into who was responsible is still going on.”

De Block was responding to a court order that the family be allowed to remain in Belgium to be present at any trial which may result from the death of their child. The judge also ordered the social aid agency of the commune of Woluwe-St-Lambert to take charge of the family, who have until now been looked after by the activist group Plateforme Citoyenne.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Experts call for more widespread use of masks as figures rise
As coronavirus figures continue to rise, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has suggested that people return to wearing masks when indoors with ...
Belgium wants to recover €420 million in wrongfully paid out coronavirus aid
The Belgian State intends to recover €420 million of unduly paid Covid-19 aid, La Libre Belgique reported on Thursday. The electronic Council of ...
Why the fight for transgender rights is polarising Europe 
Year after year, Samuel De Schepper would ask Santa Claus to bring him a penis for Christmas. Born female and attending an all girl’s Catholic ...
New offshore wind farm officially opened
Despite being operational since the end of 2020, the SeaMade offshore wind farm was officially inaugurated on Wednesday by Prime Minister Alexander ...
Contact tracers have no time for calls, only texts, amid rising cases
Contract tracers will no longer make phone calls to the high-risk contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus beginning from Wednesday, ...
Belgium holds on to top spot in FIFA rankings despite recent losses
Once again, Belgium's Red Devils have held onto their position at the top of the world football rankings, according to an update released by the ...
Proximus pushes for high-speed internet in Brussels and Wallonia
Fifteen municipalities in Wallonia should soon have access to high-speed internet through the rollout of fibre optics in the region, telecoms giant ...
Why Belgium is regulating sex work
After decades of confusing rules and hypocritical policy, Belgium is finally regulating sex work by removing prostitution from the criminal law. ...
World’s largest chocolate warehouse opens in Flanders
On Thursday, Barry Callebaut – the largest global chocolate processor and manufacturer – opened the world's largest chocolate warehouse in Lokeren, ...
Belgium in Brief: Equal Opportunity To Dance
There's a phrase where I'm from, more often said in jest nowadays, but it came to my mind this morning: "Ye dancin'?" (Are you dancing?), one ...
Farmer discovers cocaine in banana boxes bought in Brussels
A Flemish farmer who purchased boxes of bananas at the market in Brussels on Tuesday came home to discover large amounts of cocaine packed among the ...
Changes to speed cameras increase likelihood of a ticket
Changes to the way speed cameras work in Flanders and Wallonia will increase the likelihood of receiving a ticket when cars pass them above the ...