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No prosecution for police officers involved in death of Mehdi Bouda

09:03 25/04/2024

Four police officers involved in the death of Mehdi Bouda will not be prosecuted following a ruling from a Brussels court.

Bouda, aged 17, was killed in 2019 after being struck by the police vehicle while crossing between the Ravenstein Gallery and the entrance to Brussels-Central station. Before the accident, he was said to have fled from a control at Mont des Arts.

The police car was on its way to another emergency, travelling at 98 km/h with lights flashing but no sirens. It is claimed that Bouda jaywalked between a van and a truck when the traffic lights were green for cars and red for pedestrians.

Those circumstances prevented the officers involved from avoiding the collisions, the officers’ defence lawyer argued.

But the civil parties condemned the fact that Bouda was first searched before – five minutes later – resuscitation attempts were made.

“Despite the tragic consequences of the accident, the Council Chamber ruled that in this case there was insufficient evidence against the accused to conclude that they had committed a criminal offence in connection with the accident,” the court decision reads.

“The Council Chamber is aware of the moral distress of the civil parties who must understand the circumstances in which their son and brother were tragically and brutally taken from them. However, the Council Chamber does not see how a debate in open court would provide more answers.”

The family will appeal the decision, Bruzz reports, demanding a public trial.

“We do not understand why the officers responsible for Mehdi's death are not held accountable to justice,” a statement from the family and their lawyer reads.

“This reaffirms the impunity that applies to police officers, when too many young people have already died following an intervention.”

The family's appeal means that, whether the officers involved will be prosecuted or not, the case will be heard again in the Brussels indictment chamber. A date for that is currently pending.

Photo: Hadrien Dure/Belga

Written by Helen Lyons