Brazilian officials meet London police about killing of man mistaken for suicide bomber
LONDON – Two top Brazilian officials met with London police Monday to learn more about the investigation into the killing of a Brazilian man police mistook for a suicide bomber. A relative of the victim demanded that Prime Minister Tony Blair make sure those responsible were prosecuted.Pressure has mounted on London’s Metropolitan Police and its commissioner, Ian Blair, over allegations of serious failings in the lead-up to Jean Charles de Menezes’ death on a subway train. Police shot the electrician July 22, at a time of high security in the British capital following two terrorist attacks.”We are here to see how the investigation works,” Wagner Goncalves, Brazil’s deputy attorney general, said on arriving Monday at Heathrow airport with Marcio Pereira Pinto Garcia, a high-ranking Brazilian Justice Ministry official. Goncalves said he did not believe there had been a cover-up in the case.The Brazilian officials also were to meet with British government representatives and an independent watchdog agency investigating the shooting.Menezes’ death has dominated the British media in recent days. On Monday, about 100 people held a vigil in his honor outside 10 Downing St., where Prime Minister Blair lives and works.”I’m here today because I believe in truth, and we need to not be fed lies by the police,” said Jyoti Sidhe, a 26-year-old student who held a poster calling for the police commissioner’s resignation.Menezes’ cousin, Alessandro Pereira, left a letter at No. 10 he said demanded that those “responsible for the murder of Jean” be prosecuted and that officials hold a full public inquiry.The victim’s mother, Maria, told the British Broadcasting Corp. that she wanted the police who shot her son to be punished.”They ended not only my son’s life but mine as well,” she said from Brazil.Undercover police followed Menezes, 27, onto an Underground train and shot him seven times in the head and once in the shoulder the day after failed bomb attacks on London’s transit system. Two weeks earlier in similar attacks, four suspected suicide bombers killed 52 commuters.New reports emerged last week contradicting initial assertions that Menezes had aroused suspicion by wearing a bulky jacket despite the warm weather and running from police.The police commissioner has insisted police assume full responsibility for the shooting, and has refused to resign. On Sunday, he won the backing of Prime Minister Blair’s office and Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who is in charge while the prime minister vacations in Barbados.In Rome on Monday, the brother of a suspect in the failed July 21 bombings was granted house arrest, because he is not believed linked to terrorist groups, his lawyer said.Remzi Issac, an Italian resident, had been jailed in isolation on charges of possessing false documents. Prosecutors had argued that Issac’s false documents were used to help terrorist groups, said his lawyer, Antonietta Sonnessa.Issac is one of three brothers arrested in Italy last month. Among them is Ethiopian-born Hamdi Issac, arrested in Remzi Issac’s Rome apartment on July 29 and suspected for his role in the attempted bombing in London.Meanwhile, Britain’s Home Secretary Charles Clarke defended a series of anti-terror measures being introduced in response to the bombings.The measures make it easier for the government to expel Islamic extremists, bar those deemed to be inciting hatred and close down mosques that promote violence. Clarke said he would introduce “new ways of dealing” with extremist preachers and others who promote hatred.”We must protect the traditions of tolerance that we have established in this country,” Clarke wrote in an op-ed piece in London’s Evening Standard.Britain is seeking pledges that anyone it deports will not face torture at home – agreements that critics say are worthless since torture is believed to be widespread in some of the north African and Middle Eastern countries Britain is negotiating with.Clarke said the agreements included a guarantee of independent monitoring and compared them to U.S. assurances that British suspects extradited to America would not face the death penalty.—Associated Press reporter Mara D. Bellaby contributed to this report.Vail, Colorado
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