Portugal police convicted of attack on black youths

Eight Portuguese police officers have been found guilty of kidnapping and beating up six black youths in a neighbourhood near Lisbon in 2015.

In the case, a man was detained accused of throwing stones at a police car. When five other men protested at a police station, they too were detained.

Accusations of torture and racist motivation were rejected by the court.

It is the first time so many officers have been convicted in a such a case in Portugal, correspondents say.

The six youths, reportedly aged between 23 and 25 at the time, lived in Cova da Moura – a neighbourhood predominantly inhabited by immigrants from Cape Verde, a former Portuguese colony in Africa – in the city of Amadora.

Judge Ester Pacheco said there was a “serious abuse of authority” by the officers, who made unjustified arrests and then tried to make it appear the youths had invaded the police station.

The court in Sintra sentenced one officer to 18 months in prison for a repeat offence while the others were given suspended sentences. Their lawyers say they will appeal.

Nine other officers were acquitted.

The victims will receive compensation of €10,000 (£8,800; $11,200), Diário de Notícias newspaper reports (in Portuguese).

Pedro Neto, executive director of human rights group Amnesty International in Portugal, said the case “underscores the need for independent and outside control of security forces”.

“The state must not fail victims of racism,” he added in a statement (in Portuguese).

Main image copyright: Getty Images

First published 20.05.19:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-48345089

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