More than two years after a 2-year-old Kurdish girl was fatally shot by a police officer chasing suspected migrant smugglers in Belgium, a trial for the highly publicized case began Monday.
Police have said the officer fired his gun during the May 2018 chase in an attempt to stop the van, which was reportedly traveling toward Britain with 30 people inside, including 2-year-old Mawda Shawri.
Authorities contend there was no intent to shoot anyone in the car, but Mawda was struck in the head by a bullet.
The officer, who is accused of involuntary manslaughter, could see up to two years behind bars.
Many have rallied behind the “Justice for Mawda” movement, including some people who shared their support with signs near the courthouse in Brussels as the trial got underway.
British filmmaker Ken Loach is among the supporters of the movement and has contended shots never should have been fired toward the van.
“These are people who are fleeing terror, frightened for their lives, freeing across Europe, the most exploited, the most endangered people — the poorest, most vulnerable people we can imagine,” said Loach, according to The Associated Press.
Two men suspected of being smugglers face up to 30 years behind bars in the trial as well.
Monday’s opening day at the courthouse was expected to resume after being briefly suspended due to translation issues.