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Constança Urbano de Sousa; Wall painting of Martin Luther King in Cova da Moura

Portugal charges 18 police with ‘racist torture’ of black Africans

Some 18 officers at a Portuguese police station will be facing charges over the 2015 detention of six African men. Prosecutors maintain the victims suffered not only physical, but "tremendous psychological violence".

Published: July 12, 2017, 10:29 am

    Lisbon

    They were then also detained for 48 hours and “humiliated”, the Diario de Noticias newspaper reported, after protesting against a friend’s arrest. Prosecutors have accused the officers of being motivated by feelings of xenophobia, hate and racial discrimination, the paper added.

    According to police, two of the officers had already faced internal disciplinary sanctions. Reports of racist violence in Portugal are rare, but this case illustrates how Social Justice Warriors and their victim culture have been fanning out around the globe.

    Prosecutors said the officers from the town northwest of the Portuguese capital, will face trial over “torture and other cruel treatment” as well as other charges. The entire force of the Alfragide police station, were charged on Tuesday.

    Five of the six Africans, aged 23 to 25 at the time, maintained the arrest was “arbitrary and violent” after violent clashes with police in the Cova da Moura neighbourhood. It is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Europe, often likened to the slums in Brazil.

    Only 15 minutes away from Lisbon, the district is known for its large population of immigrants from Cape Verde, a former Portuguese colony off of Africa’s northwest coast. Portugal has large black minorities from its former African colonies as well as Brazil and India.

    The prosecutor’s office said in a statement that the Africans were subjected to “degrading and inhuman treatment” as well as unlawful imprisonment. The officers had abused their powers and violated their duties, the statement added.

    “All 18 police officers charged by the Public Prosecutor’s Office with crimes of torture, kidnapping and physical offenses that are qualified and aggravated by motivation for racial hatred may be suspended from their duties,” the Diario de Noticias noted.

    “The Minister of Internal Affairs, Constança Urbano de Sousa, has already informed the national director of Police that the Disciplinary Regulation must be complied with, which provides for the provisional suspension of police officers accused of crimes with a sentence of more than three years in prison.”

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