a police officer given a suspended sentence for a fatal shooting against a Kurdish girl

He shot a migrant van unintentionally killing a two-year-old Kurdish girl during a highway chase in 2018.

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This is the penalty requested by the prosecution. A Belgian police officer was sentenced on Friday February 12 in Mons (south) to a one-year suspended prison sentence for having shot a migrant van, involuntarily killing a two-year-old Kurdish girl, during a chase on a motorway in 2018.

Victor-Manuel Jacinto Goncalves, 48, was convicted of “manslaughter by lack of foresight or precaution”. He faced up to two years in prison, but the criminal court took into account “the absence of a criminal record and the sincere regrets he expressed”, according to the judgment.

During the trial, at the end of November, the representative of the prosecution noted the absence of evidence that the police officer “deliberately wanted to harm the life of others”.

The backdrop of the drama is the smuggling of migrants in the Paris-Brussels-London triangle and the policy of the Belgian government deemed too “repressive” by the associations that defend them.

The policeman responsible for the shooting quickly recognized his gesture. But, he said at trial, “if I had known that there was a child (aboard the chasing vehicle), I would never have drawn my gun”.

In his reasons, however, the court considered his fault “established without a doubt”. “The goal of stopping the van could be achieved by other means such as building a roadblock”, he argued. Choosing to shoot, even when aiming for a tire, came down to “seriously endanger the occupants of the van or even other road users”.

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