LISBON (Reuters) – Three Portuguese immigration officers have been charged with murder over the fatal beating of a Ukrainian man detained at Lisbon airport for trying to enter the country without a valid visa, prosecutors said on Wednesday.
In a statement, they said the incident in March this year occurred in a room run by the immigration and border service at the airport where the 40-year-old man was taken after he refused to board a flight out of the country.
The Ukrainian man became “agitated” with the situation and to restrain him the immigration officers tied up his legs and arms. Soon afterwards three other officers entered the room, handcuffed the man’s hands behind his back and beat him up, punching and kicking him repeatedly, the statement said.
The suspects also used an expandable baton to beat the victim, it said. Hours later, emergency services were called in and the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
“The aggression perpetrated by the defendants caused several traumatic injuries that were the direct cause of his death,” the statement said.
The three officers were arrested and suspended after the incident and have now been charged with murder, it said. They are being kept under house arrest rather than in jail due to the coronavirus pandemic, pending trial.
The immigration service could not be immediately reached for comment. It said earlier it was cooperating with the investigation and had taken “the needed disciplinary measures”.
The defendants have made no comment about the incident.
(Reporting by Catarina Demony; Editing by Mark Heinrich)