Brazil Protests and Family Calls Shameful UK Decision on De Menezes

Brazil regretted Monday, July 17, the British prosecutors decision not to charge the police officers involved in the death shooting July 2005 in London of Brazilian citizen Jean Charles de Menezes.

"The Brazilian government regrets the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service of the United Kingdom for rendering impossible the punishment of the officers who participated in the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes", the Foreign Relations Ministry said in a release adding that a mission sent to London by Minister Celso Amorim "will continue to seek additional clarification about the prosecutors’ decision with the purpose of a final assessment".

De Menezes was gunned down July 22, 2005, in a subway car at London’s Stockwell station a few days after the terrorist attacks and bomb scare that followed.

After reviewing the report prepared by Britain’s Independent Police Complaints Commission, IPCC, prosecutors concluded that there was insufficient evidence to file charges against the individual officers involved in the 27-year-old electrician’s death.

"The two officers who fired the fatal shots did so because they thought that Mr. De Menezes had been identified to them as a suicide bomber and that if they did not shoot him, he would blow up the train, killing many people" Stephen O’Doherty, senior lawyer with the Crown Prosecution Service Special Crime Division, said in a statement.

O’Doherty added that "while a number of individuals had made errors in planning and communication, and the cumulative result was the tragic death of Mr. De Menezes, no individual had been culpable to the degree necessary for a criminal offense".

But the Metropolitan force will be charged under health and safety laws.

The Metropolitan Police officers involved in the case were operating under a shoot-to-kill policy for suspected suicide bombers.

The IPCC report was the product of a six-month investigation into the tragic death of De Menezes, who was killed a day after a series of failed bombing attempts in London on the heels of those that killed more than 50 people in the British capital on July 7, 2005.

The family of De Menezes reacted calling the prosecutors’ decision "absolutely unbelievable".

A cousin of the victim Alex Pereira said in a press conference that the CPS decision was "shameful" and criticized authorities for "taking so much time in reaching such an incompetent" conclusion".

Patricia da Silva Armani, another cousin of the victim, said she was disappointed at the legal strategy being used by prosecutors and told reporters she was angry over the decision and wondered whether there was a "cover-up".

De Menezes was followed by undercover Special Branch officers on the morning of July 22 after emerging from a block of flats in the South London neighborhood of Tulse Hill that was under surveillance by counter-terrorism units. He then took a bus to the Stockwell subway station.

Police officers mistakenly reported that De Menezes was wanted terrorist Hussein Osman, who was being sought for the failed suicide bombing of a train in London on July 21, according to press reports.

After the incident, Metropolitan Police chief Sir Ian Blair said the shooting was "directly linked" to the failed subway bombings a day earlier in London.

Initially, police reported De Menezes was behaving suspiciously in Stockwell station and disobeyed orders to halt, bolting instead into a crowded subway car, where officers tackled him and shot him to death, fearing that he might be a suicide bomber.

However information leaked from the IPCC revealed that the young man calmly entered the metro station with a ticket and had just sat down in a subway car when a police officer grabbed him and dumped him to the floor while another officer shot him eight times at point-blank range in the head.

Mercopress – www.mercopress.com

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