LONGUEUIL – On Wednesday, Moussa Sidime was sentenced to 60 days in jail for accidentally killing his daughter by slapping her in the face.
The two month sentence was handed down after a Longueuil judge acknowledged that Sidime had been remorseful.
An investigation by child protective services also showed there was no history of violence.
Nevertheless, many think a two month sentence is far from enough.
“60 Days is nothing,” said one Montrealer.
“This man is just gonna come right back out and he’s not gonna learn from his lessons.”
The father of six was surrounded by family and friends on Wednesday as the judge handed down his sentence.
The prosecution had suggested two years behind bars, but Sidime’s two eldest children argued in court that a stiffer sentence would hurt the family more than it would help them.
“To be accused of something like this, to your daughter who you love it’s been really tough,” said Aissatou Sidime.
“As you saw in the courtroom, he’s still in tears today.”
In court, Sidime and his family insisted it was the first time he had ever slapped his 13 year-old daughter, Noutene Sidime.
Some members of the Guinean community, where Sidime was born, insist simple slaps are common practice.
“In Guinea, a slap isn’t considered violent,” explained Mamoudou Kaba, saying that it’s a tolerated form of punishment – but he also admitted his community had now learned that a slap can kill.
“Let’s wake up, let’s value our children,” said Riccardo Didone, a children’s rights advocate.
He believes more jail time isn’t the answer in this case.
Instead, he would like to see more money spent on education and prevention programs.
“We have people with all kinds of backgrounds,” he said.
“Some people were raised differently, some people are more physical than others and it is important to give a bag of knowledge to parents on how to deal with their children, if they have problems what they should be doing where to go.”
74-year-old Sidime will start serving his time next Monday.
Despite the outrage over the legal sentence, many are convinced he will continue to pay for his actions for years.
“If I did anything foolish and one of my kids was to die I don’t know how I could live with myself afterwards and that’s probably what’s happening to him,” said Didone.