Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian national gunned down by the London police in a subway when they mistook him for a terrorist had an expired two years before visa, said the British Home Office.
The announcement contradicts Mr. Menezes family statements insisting he was in Britain legally. First word that he was an undocumented immigrant supported speculation that he had run from police when challenged because he feared being “discovered” as an illegal resident.
Menezes had a stamp on his passport “apparently giving him indefinite leave to remain in the UK” but it appears to have been counterfeit, a spokesman for Britain’s Home Office told the press.
“That stamp was not one that was in use by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate on the date given,” the official said.
According to the Home Office, Menezes arrived in the UK on March 13, 2002 and was granted entry for six months as a visitor. Later he applied for leave to remain as a student, which was approved and he was granted leave to remain until June 30, 2003.
“We have no record of any further application or correspondence from Mr. Menezes” indicated the Home Office spokesperson.
“We have seen a copy of Mr. Menezes passport containing a stamp apparently giving him indefinite leave to remain in the UK. On investigation this stamp was not one that was in use by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate on the date given”, he added.
Meantime Mr. Menezes body has been returned to Brazil to be buried in Gonzaga, Minas Gerais where his family lives.
On arrival to São Paulo airport the coffin was covered with a Brazilian flag and transferred to an Air Force aircraft and flown to Governador Valadares.
A Fire Department vehicle drove his remains sixty miles to Gonzaga accompanied by relatives, friends and an official delegation headed by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s personal representative Mário Mamede.
Officials from Gonzaga, a small municipality of 5,800 residents, declared Friday a civic holiday so that locals can attend the funeral.
Human rights defense organizations in Brazil and in Great Britain have protested Menezes’ killing and are demanding that the British government punish the police officers responsible.
They are also demanding that London compensate Mr. Menezes family, which the British government has promised to do, since they are humble peasants whom he was helping support by sending home money from his job as electrician.
This article appeared originally in Mercopress – www.mercopress.com.