Mawda Shawri, a Kurdish girl 2-year-old girl, was shot dead by a police officer in the southern Belgian city of Mons.
In may 2018 Mawda was shot in the face as she sat on her mother’s lap in the front seat of a van carrying 26 adults and 4 children. The vehicle was being driven by a suspected people smuggler, who was trafficking migrants to Britain.
Police chased the van as it was travelling 90kmph. According to the investigation, the police officer had aimed his gun out of the window at the van’s “left front tyre” in an effort to stop the vehicle. But he stated that a sudden movement by his colleague had deflected his shot.
On February 12, 2021, the court charged a police officer with manslaughter, sentencing him to 1 year suspended imprisonment and a fine of 400 euros. Mawda’s family tried to get a sentence of 10-15 years in prison for the officer. On March 10, 2021, media reported that police intend to appeal the court decision.
MASS MEDIA ABOUT THE CASE:
“At the moment it seems that the investigation is focused on blaming the smuggler-driver for not stopping in order to hide the responsibility of the police. They need to take responsibility for the death of Mawda,” said an attorney of Mawda’s parents.
The officer writing the account immediately following the incident wrote an initial version as follows: ‘During the chase (…) they break the windows with the head of a child and they pretend to throw it out towards the police cars. The blows the child received result in a head injury and the death of the child.’
The initiative group has requested the clarification from Minister of the Interior Annelies Verlinden, Prime Minister of Belgium Alexander De Croo and Minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne. The initiative group believes it is important to fight against police brutality and, if necessary, will provide legal and financial assistance to the family of the victim.