Socialist Worker

We demand justice, say grieving relatives

The family of Jean Charles de Menezes remembered him last week and asked for help in their struggle for the truth, writes Joseph Choonara

Issue No. 1962

Jean’s cousins, Alessandro, Alex and Patricia, are campaigning for justice (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Jean’s cousins, Alessandro, Alex and Patricia, are campaigning for justice (Pic: Guy Smallman)


The family of the 27 year old Brazilian shot dead by armed police in south London, have cast further doubt on the police’s version of events leading up to the shooting.

Police initially claimed that Jean was wearing a thick padded coat when he was shot and that he jumped the barrier at Stockwell tube station.

But Jean’s cousins have revealed that he was wearing a light denim jacket and that he used his travel card to enter the tube. The family say they were given the information by police who had viewed CCTV footage from the station.

These revelations connect to existing questions, such as why the police allowed someone who they say was a suspected suicide bomber to board a bus and then enter the tube, without once challenging him.

There are deeper questions surrounding the policy of shoot to kill — a policy introduced through police guidelines, which remain unpublished, and not even debated in parliament.

Alex Pereira, one of Jean’s cousins, said last week that police wanted to shoot someone to show they took terrorism seriously.

Another of Jean’s cousins, Alessandro Pereira, said, “I want justice for my cousin. Tony Blair has talked about the attacks on London and terrorists, but he has not mentioned my cousin.”

Linking Jean’s killing to the deaths of innocent Iraqis, he added, “The money that is wasted on war should go to a better cause. I would like the government to use this money to help people in Africa.”

A number of events have taken place to remember Jean and to protest at his death. Around 200 people attended a Stop the War Coalition protest at Downing Street on Thursday of last week.

About 50 people attended an emergency meeting called by Lambeth Stop the War and held in Brixton, south London, near where Jean was killed.

A vigil at parliament on Friday of last week was called by the Jean Charles de Menezes Family Campaign.

It was followed by a ­service at Westminster cathedral, held simultaneously with Jean’s funeral in Brazil. Alessandro Pereira made this tribute:

“Jean was aged 27. He was a young Brazilian man who came to London full of dreams and hopes. He loved London. He loved the fact that it was home to so many different people from around the world.

“Seven days ago he died—an innocent man who was shot dead by police officers. We have many questions about how he died. We want to find the truth.

“Today is about remembering Jean. At this very moment his funeral procession is beginning in our home town of Ganzaga. The streets are lined with the people of my town as they pay their respects to Jean.

“His death has destroyed Jean’s mother and father. Jean was the youngest child. He was loved by everybody. He loved to talk, he loved to sing. Now we will never hear his voice again.

“We are all so destroyed. Nothing can bring Jean back or stop the hurt our family is feeling.

“But in this tragic time my family want to thank all our friends, all the people of London, including the Muslim community, who have given us so much support.

“This death could so easily have happened to somebody else’s brother, father or cousin. I hope no other family suffers as we have suffered. Please help us in our quest for justice.”


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News
Sat 6 Aug 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1962
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