Three SEF (borders agency) inspectors are being charged with the murder of a 40-year-old Ukrainian man refused entry into Portugal earlier last month.
The inspectors, all men in their 40s, appeared before court on Monday and are now awaiting trial under house arrest, without electronic bracelets.
The magistrate in charge stressed the constraints caused by Covid-19 as the reason for not ordering preventive custody in jail, or the imposition of tags.
Electronic tags will be placed on the men, say reports, “when its possible”.
The incident has already led to the instant resignations of two of the airport’s ‘top brass’ within the service, and an inquiry by the ministry of the interior.
Say reports, three other people (described as two men and a woman) ‘may have been involved’.
The Ukrainian flew into Lisbon from Turkey on March 10.
For reasons unclear he was refused entry into Portugal and ordered to reboard the plane and return to Turkey. An altercation followed in which the Ukrainian suffered an epileptic fit and was taken to hospital.
He was returned to the airport two days later, to take a return flight to Turkey. Before boarding, airport CCTV show him clearly having been taken to the room – accompanied by the three inspectors – in which he later died.
The room has no CCTV cameras. The man’s body was discovered with his hands cuffed behind his back.
Says tabloid Correio da Manhã, the examining doctor felt the story he was being told of what had led to the death “did not make sense”. He summoned PJ criminal police.
A subsequent autopsy has shown that the man died from fractures to his ribs which led to him suffocating.
Said SIC television news on Monday, the body showed “marks of extreme violence”.
For now, the Ukrainian has not been named. Since 2017 Ukrainian nationals carrying biometric passports have been allowed entry into certain countries within Schengen space (Portugal being one) for the purposes of tourism, family visits and business.