No cell for Belgian agent who shot toddler

The Belgian policeman who mistakenly shot an Iraqi Kurdish toddler in pursuit of human smugglers does not need to go to jail. The judge considers him guilty, but he held a parole sentence and a fine.

Almost three years ago, the agent tried to stop a van in which people smugglers wanted to bring 2-year-old Mawda and her family to the UK. The shot he fired, according to his own claim to shoot a front tire leak, became fatal to the girl.

The policeman shouldnt have fired, says the court. His mistake led directly to Mawdas death and thus he committed unintentional manslaughter, similar to the Dutch death by guilt. According to the court, it did happen by accident. The officer never denied the shot and never deviated from his explanation of his intentions.

The driver of the van was sentenced to four years in prison. A second suspect, who rode in the van, goes free for lack of evidence.

Mawdas parents are allowed to stay in Belgium, was announced earlier in the day. Until the trial was completed, they didnt have to go back to their own country. But in the meantime they have also received a permanent residence permit.

That is only โ€œnormalโ€, says the Belgian Secretary of State Sammy Mahdi (Asylum). โ€œThese parents have experienced a trauma. Their child is buried here. Sometimes you dont have to understand all the choices made by parents to let them find peace.โ€ Mahdi wants to give the family the โ€œpeace and quiet so that they can mourn peacefully.โ€