Vol. 5 Num 418 Sat. July 30, 2005  

Brazilian killed by UK cops mourned
De Menezes's visa expired in 2003: British Home Office

Friends and family of a young Brazilian man shot by anti-terrorist police in London remembered him, a week after his death, as investigators promised a full, independent inquiry into the bungled killing.

Almost all the 6,000 residents of De Menezes's home town of Gonzaga turned out to pay their respects as his body arrived home on Thursday. His funeral was scheduled for later Friday.

"This is a loss that all of Brazil has felt," said Luciano Batel da Silva, De Menezes' godfather.

Virtually the entire town massed in the streets of Gonzaga, many weeping and waving improvised white flags of surrender.

Allessandro Pereira, a cousin of Jean Charles de Menezes laid flowers at Stockwell Underground station in south London, where the 27-year-old electrician was chased before being shot dead on July 22.

Pereira was too overcome with emotion to speak, and a friend of the dead man paid tribute as mourners held hands in a circle and played music.

Police had followed De Menezes from an address they had been watching in connection with four failed suicide bomb attacks on subway trains and a bus the day before.

The head of Britain's Indepen-dent Police Complaints Commi-ssion (IPCC) was also at Stockwell on Friday morning to help appeal for more witnesses to the shooting.

Nick Hardwick had unusually blunt words for officials at the Home Office, who on Thursday released information saying the Brazilian's visa had expired two years before his death, seen as a possible reason why he seemingly tried to flee police.

Officials should "shut up" until the IPCC investigation reached its conclusions, Hardwick said.

"It's entirely irrelevant information. I'm rather surprised the Home Office should issue it," he said.

Home Office officials said they wished to end speculation over his immigration status but added it was not intended to influence any investigations.

The department's statement said Menezes arrived in the UK on 13 March 2002 and was granted entry for six months as a visitor.

He applied for leave to remain as a student, which was approved and he was granted leave to remain until 30 June 2003.

"We have no record of any further application or correspondence from Mr Menezes".