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Police may face charges in Menezes case

Hasan Suroor

LONDON: Five months after the police shot dead an innocent Brazilian youth, Jean Charles de Menezes, in a south London tube station on suspicion of carrying a bomb, provoking worldwide outrage, there are indications that the officers involved in the incident may face criminal charges.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which investigated the case, is reported to have found evidence that could lead to criminal prosecution of at least some of the members of the counter-terrorism team behind the botched operation.

Menezes (27) was shot seven times from point-blank range by armed officers who claimed that they "mistook'' him for a suicide bomber in the wake of the July 21London bombings.

The IPCC relied on CCTV footage and hundreds of eyewitness statements to reconstruct the last moments of Menezes as he entered the tube station and got on to a waiting train before being grabbed and gunned down by police officers, who had been following him for nearly 30 minutes since he left home.

The incident, which generated headlines around the world and provoked widespread condemnation of police tactics in dealing with terrorism, took place on July 22 — a day after the London bombings.

The Metropolitan Police chief Ian Blair, who is under pressure to resign, is being investigated separately over allegations that, in the aftermath of the incident, he gave a misleading account of the circumstances leading to Menezes's killing. He also been accused of trying to block inquiry by IPCC claiming that it would hamper investigations into the July 7 attacks.

Nick Hardwick, chairman of IPCC, said his report to the Crown Prosecution Service would recommend specific charges against individual officers.

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