De Menezes family talks of pain and bringing government to account
Report on the first public meeting of the Jean Charles de Menezes Family Campaign, held on 10th October at the London School of Economics.
The mother of the Brazilian man shot dead by the Metropolitan Police in July has described her immense pain at the loss of her son.
Addressing the launch campaign 'Justice for Jean' Marie de Silva condemned asituation where innocent people could be shot dead on the streets of London. "This law cannot continue when innocent people are being killed," said Marie de Silva. "A young worker cannot be killed ever again. "With God's love and help and the union of people we can reverse this law and make sure than no one is killed again."
Mrs de Silva called for help in the quest for justice. "I don't want any mother to suffer in the way that I am suffering now," said Mrs de Silva. At the meeting attended by more than 300 people solicitor for the family Gareth Peirce condemned the former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Lord John Stevens for bringing back the shoot to kill policy from Northern Ireland.
Mrs Peirce described how Sir John had boasted about introducing the shoot tokill policy in a Sunday newspaper article. "So the same policeman who went to investigate shoot to kill in Northern Ireland admits to covertly introducing the policy here," said Mrs Peirce.
The former Birmingham Six lawyer declared that it was time to apoligise tothe family of dead man Jean Charles de Menezes. "We must apoligise for doingthese things. The family are saying that it must not be allowed to happen to anyone else. It is this family who are making us wake up to the sort of country we are but should not be," said Mrs Peirce.
Mrs Peirce condemned the attempts of the government to introduce moreanti-terror legislation. "There is more than enough legislation already, it is a case of whether the police use it properly," said Mrs Peirce.
Livio Zilli from Amnesty International called for an investigation into why the Independent Police Complaints Commission were not allowed to begin their investigation for three days. "Any cover up must be investigated. The family and society as a whole need justice," said Mr Zila. "The attmpts to block the investigation and the reticence of the IPCC to tell the public and the family that they were not in charge of the investigation from the start is very serious. We will investigate whether the IPCC is truly independent."
Bianca Jagger accused Prime Minister Tony Blair of reintroducing the deathpenalty by the back door. "Prime Minister Blair has brought back shoot to kill by the back door without any Parliamentary debate. The death penalty was abolished in this country and the rest of Europe some 20 years ago," said Ms Jagger. "Though we have threats it is vital we do not give up our rights and freedoms."
Liberal Democrat MP Mathew Taylor condemned Parliament for its failure to hold the government to account for the shoot to kill policy that led to the death of Jean Charles de Menezes. "I am ashamed that Parliament and my colleagues in Parliament failed to hold the government to account. It is vital that we believe in innocent until proven guilty. This is a policy that allows the state and those representing the state to execute people," said Mr Taylor. "There has been no debate on this policy, all we've had is Charles Clarke saying there is no shoot to kill policy. The De Menzes family have started to make happen, namely holding the government to account, what Parliament has failed to do. "There were also contributions from other families who had had members shot by the police including Irene Stanley the wife of Harry who was shot in 1999.