UK: Amnesty International concerned at possible delays to De Menezes inquest

In a statement published to coincide with today's (7 September) resumption of the Coroner's inquest into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, Amnesty International expressed serious concern that the inquest into his death may be deferred. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has asked for the inquest to be postponed until the criminal proceedings against the Office of the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police are completed. The Office is charged with failing to provide for the health, safety and welfare of Jean Charles de Menezes.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“It is now over a year since Jean Charles de Menezes was killed by British police, yet still his family has not been provided with critical information about the circumstances of his death.

“Amnesty opposes any postponement of the inquest. Further delays will only undermine public confidence in the investigation, and compound the distress already experienced by the De Menezes family.

“Jean-Charles’ family is entitled to a prompt and effective investigation, and to participate fully in the proceedings. For their sakes, and for the sake of justice, the inquest must go ahead and fully reveal what happened on 22 July 2005.”

Amnesty International would oppose any such postponement because:

  • The family of Jean Charles de Menezes has yet to be provided with critical information about all the circumstances surrounding his killing. The provision of such information is a key component of the family’s right to an effective remedy under human rights law.
  • The postponement of the inquest until the completion of the criminal case would result in an unnecessarily prolonged delay in the holding of the inquest. In this respect, the right of the family to redress under human rights law - including through a prompt, thorough, independent and effective investigation -- may be violated by the disproportionate delay. Any unnecessary delay in the holding of the inquest may also compound the distress, pain and suffering already experienced by the family of Jean Charles de Menezes.
  • Any unnecessary and protracted delay may undermine public confidence in the rule of law and the conduct of the police.

Read the statement on the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes

Background

Amnesty International has recently written to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) expressing concern about the CPS's intention to seek the postponement of the inquest. The DPP has already replied to Amnesty International confirming that the CPS has requested -- and indeed will seek at the DPP's behest during today's hearing -- that the Coroner adjourns the inquest into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes until the completion of the ongoing criminal proceedings.

On 22 July 2005, the day after a series of serious security incidents occurred in London, plain-clothes police officers of the Metropolitan Police shot dead Jean Charles de Menezes, an unarmed young Brazilian man who had been working in the UK for the previous three years, after they had reportedly restrained him on board a London underground train on his way to work.

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