British Government Promises Quick Compensation for Brazilian Killed in London

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw promised compensation to the family of Jean Charles Menezes, the Brazilian national shot and killed by London police last Friday after believing he was a suicide terrorist.

Following a meeting Monday with Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, Mr. Straw said that the British government would compensate the family in a “comprehensive and quick manner” once his remains are returned to the family in Minas Gerais, Brazil.


“Some form of compensation is important because the family is poor,” said Mr. Amorim during a joint press conference with Mr. Straw in the Foreign Office.


Menezes was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder at Stockwell Underground station, south London on Friday, revealed Deputy Inspector Elizabeth Baker during a hearing in London.


Contrary to previous reports, Mr. Straw confirmed that the deceased was living legally in Britain and had the precise immigration papers.


Brazilian media reports say British human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce is acting as the family’s legal adviser and are considering suing Scotland Yard.


The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will investigate the shooting. Nick Hardwick, head of the IPCC, said the commission needs to find out the truth of what happened “to ensure it can never happen again”.


“If people haven’t acted in accordance with the law and their training” they would be held accountable.


Meanwhile Primer Minister Tony Blair said he was “desperately sorry” an innocent man had lost his life and it was right for Britain to express its “sorrow and deep sympathy” to Mr Menezes’ family. But he added the police must be supported in doing their job.


“They would have been severely criticized had the suspect turned out to be a terrorist and they had failed to take action”.


London Mayor Ken Livingstone described Mr Menezes as a “victim of the terrorist attacks”. “Consider the choice that faced police officers at Stockwell last Friday – and be glad you did not have to take it”


On Friday morning Mr Menezes had left his flat in Tulse Hill and boarded a bus towards Stockwell Tube station.


He had been followed by police, who had his block of flats under surveillance. When he was challenged by police in the Tube station, he fled, reportedly leaping the ticket barrier, when the shooting incident occurred.


Over the past year there have been an increased number of immigration checks at Tube stations – a policy widely reported in Brazilian papers in London.


In Brazil, relatives are demanding answers as to why Mr Menezes ran and why he was shot by police.


Cousin Maria do Socorro said she thought the police had acted “like amateurs”, adding that “if you are going to have a war on terror, you have got to use brains to fight it not just brute force”. Ms Socorro confirmed the family was considering suing over the shooting.


Apparently Mr Menezes had been sending money to pay for the cancer treatment of his father.


This article appeared originally in Mercopress – www.mercopress.com.

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