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Luxembourg police officer on trial at Arlon court
Luxembourg

Luxembourg police officer on trial at Arlon court

21.03.2012 From our online archive
On Thursday, a court in Arlon will begin hearing the case against a Luxembourg police officer accused of shooting a suspected burglar during a car chase in Belgium in 2010.

(CS) On Thursday, a court in Arlon will begin hearing the case against a Luxembourg police officer accused of shooting a suspected burglar during a car chase in Belgium in 2010.

On the night from March 2 to 3, 2010, police were chasing a group of burglars after they robbed a jewellery store in Oberpallen, Luxembourg.

Police had been trying to apprehend the two suspected criminals for several weeks after a series of robberies at petrol stations in the border region. CCTV footage from previous crime scenes had shown what appeared to be the same men heavily armed.

On their escape across the E411 in direction of Belgium, the two suspects broke through several road blocks. When their Audi A6 came to a halt close to Sesselich after a tyre exploded, the two continued on foot cross country.

When one of the men reached for his waistband where police suspected he had a gun, the police officer in questioned opened fire and shot the man in the back.

The officer now faces charges of grievous bodily harm resulting in death. The victim was in his thirties, originally from Namur, and well-known to police.

Family questions defence

The officer in question said to Belgian newspaper La Meuse that he regretted shooting a man, but that he would act in the same way under similar circumstances.

The victim's family meanwhile said that there was no evidence for self-defence as the victim had his back turned to the officer.

His suspected accomplice, too, said there was no need to shoot them “like rabbits” as they had their backs turned to the police. He also denies breaking through road barriers, saying instead that they had circumnavigated a police patrol via a parking lot.

When the car hit a curb in Arlon damaging a tyre, a safety mechanism on the Audi A6's on-board computer kicked-in, limiting the vehicle's speed to 70km/h and making escape by car impossible, he continued.