Portugal police officers sentenced in unprecedented trial

Lisbon, Portugal - Eight police officers were on Monday convicted of crimes ranging from aggravated kidnapping to grievous bodily harm against eight young black people in Lisbon.

It was the end - for now at least - of an unprecedented court case which saw seventeen agents on trial, bringing the issue of institutional racism and police violence in Portugal into the public eye. The sentences handed out, however, met disappointment, with both sides intending to appeal.

The case was brought against PSP (Portuguese, public-facing) police officers by the Public Ministry, and concerned the events of February 5, 2015, when police carried out an operation in Cova da Moura, a Lisbon neighbourhood known for its proud, predominantly Cape Verdean community. Two women, Neuza Correia and Jailsa Sousa - both bystanders - were left wounded after being shot with rubber-coated ammunition.

A series of police detentions during the operation were on Monday found to have been illegal, tantamount to aggravated kidnapping, and resulting in the grievous bodily harm of a further six people - Bruno Lopes, Rui Moniz, Celso Lopes, Flavio Almada, Paulo Veiga and Miguel Reis.


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