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UK: Shot Brazilian's visa expired



Great Britain
Acts of terror

LONDON, England -- The Brazilian man mistakenly shot and killed by anti-terrorist police in London last week had a false stamp on his passport and had been in Britain for two years with an expired visa, officials say.

The announcement was made Thursday as the body of Jean Charles de Menezes arrived in 27-year-old's home town of Gonzaga, a small town 650 kilometers (400 miles) southwest of Brasilia.

The coffin was taken to the Sao Sebastiao Church, where a wake will be held for de Menezes before his funeral Friday afternoon, Ana Lucia Ferreira, a city hall official, told The Associated Press.

Some of Gonzaga's 6,000 residents paraded in the town holding posters saying "We Want Justice," AP said.

"Everything is very peaceful and sad," said police officer Rogerio de Souza, adding that about 2,000 people had gathered "to pay their respects to Jean."

"We are not expecting any trouble or any angry anti-British demonstrations," he told AP.

Meanwhile Britain's Home Office said the young man's student visa expired on June 30, 2003.

After examining his passport, the Home Office determined the stamp giving him the right to remain in Britain appears to have been fake.

De Menezes arrived in Britain on March 13, 2002, and was granted entry for six months as a visitor. He applied and received a student visa on October 31 of that year, allowing him to stay until June 30, 2003. After that, the Home Office has no record of any further application or correspondence from de Menezes.

"We have seen a copy of Mr. de Menezes' passport containing a stamp apparently giving him indefinite leave to remain in the UK," the Home Office statement said. "On investigation, this stamp was not one that was in use by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate on the date given."

De Menezes was shot eight times at the Stockwell Underground station a day after the July 21 attempted London bombings. Police had followed him from a house in Stockwell that was under surveillance as part of the investigation into the attempted bombings.

A police statement said his "clothing and suspicious behavior at Stockwell station added to" officers' suspicions, and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair said de Menezes challenged police and refused to obey orders.

The Home Office statement reiterated the government's "deep regret" for his death.

Members of de Menezes' family have said an apology was not enough.

On Wednesday, Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva telephoned de Menezes' family to express his condolences over the killing.

He spoke with de Menezes' father and brother, who live in Gonzaga.

About 50 Brazilians placed two large funeral wreaths outside the British consulate in Sao Paolo to protest against the shooting.

In London, around 30 supporters of de Menezes' family gathered outside the Metropolitan Police's headquarters at Scotland Yard, the Press Association reported.

On Monday British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw apologized for de Menezes' death and said a compensation claim for the slain man's family would be "handled sympathetically and quickly."

But Nick Hardwick, chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, told CNN an investigation into de Menezes' death could take months to complete.

"This is about a search for the truth," Hardwick told CNN.

"We don't start with an assumption that someone's at fault here. We start from the assumption that the family need to know what happened and we're going to do our utmost to give them the answers," Hardwick added.

"If there's been wrongdoing, we'll hold people to account. If there's lessons to be learned we'll make sure they're learned."

On Tuesday Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said there had been 250 incidents when police had tracked suspected suicide bombers -- and seven incidents in which there had been "shoot-to-kill" scares -- since 56 people, including four bombers, dies in the London attacks of July 7.

"This is professional judgment. There are suicide bombers there and we have a job to do. This is a tragedy but it must not divert us from the main issue. We must be able to protect the public," Blair told Britain's Channel Four News.

In Brazil on Tuesday the militant Landless Rural Workers' Movement protested in front of the British Embassy in Brasilia and the consulate in Rio de Janeiro.

In a statement it said Menezes had been "assassinated in cold blood" and was a "victim of intolerance."

On Monday hundreds of protesters marched in Gonzaga to demand the arrest of the police involved in the incident.

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