Last Updated: Thursday, 31 July 2014, 17:47 GMT

Amnesty International Report 2006 - Portugal

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 23 May 2006
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2006 - Portugal, 23 May 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/447ff7b53e.html [accessed 1 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Reports of ill-treatment by police officers continued to give rise to concern about Portugal's failure to comply with international law and standards. Law enforcement training in the use of force and firearms and operational guidelines reportedly continued to be insufficient. At least 33 women were reported to have been killed as a result of violence against women in the family.

Policing concerns

Ill-treatment by police officers continued to be reported, including one case in which a man subsequently died in police custody.

  • In March, José Reis was arrested for causing a public disturbance in the city of Lagos. A witness reported seeing six or seven policemen beating him at the time of his arrest. He was taken to the local police station at around 4am, and was found hanging in his cell, dead, at 5.20am. The coroner's report concluded his death was suicide, but the Judiciary Police and the General Inspectorate of the Internal Administration (IGAI), the Interior Ministry's police oversight body, opened investigations into the circumstances of his death.

Training and operational guidelines for the police, including in the use of force and firearms, reportedly remained inadequate. Officers reportedly received initial training in the use of firearms, and could then have further training only once every three to four years.

At least three people died as a result of lethal force during the year, again raising long-standing concerns about the possible unnecessary or disproportionate use of force.

  • In March an unnamed 48-year-old man was shot dead by a member of the Republican National Guard (Guarda Nacional Republicana, GNR). An officer reportedly fired shots at the man's vehicle after he allegedly stole petrol, tried to get away and hit an officer with his car, causing him minor injuries. An investigation into the killing was opened, but the officer concerned was not suspended from duty.
  • Also in March, João Martins, aged 17, was fatally wounded when a GNR officer fired at his car during a police chase. The bullet passed through the car, hitting him in the chest. No official investigation was known to have been carried out into the killing.

Violence against women

Violence against women in the family remained a major concern, despite Portugal's record since 1990 of specific legislation, amendments to the penal codes and national plans against domestic violence to prevent and punish acts of violence against women, and to provide support and redress to the victims.

Thirty-three women were reported to have been killed as a result of violence against women in the family. Of these, 29 were killed by their husband, former boyfriend or partner, and four by other relatives.

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