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Portuguese officers convicted of kidnapping black youths

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LISBON (Reuters) – A Portuguese court has found eight police officers guilty of kidnapping and beating up six youths from a predominantly black neighbourhood in the outskirts of Lisbon.

Only one of the eight officers was sentenced to jail, while the others were given suspended sentences for various crimes, including kidnapping, assault and falsification of documents. Nine other police officers were acquitted.

“The behaviour of those accused constitutes a serious abuse of authority,” Judge Ester Pacheco said, quoted by Portugal’s news agency Lusa.

The case dates back to 2015 when 17 officers used excessive violence against six black youths from the Cova da Moura neighbourhood. At the time the officers were charged with crimes motivated by racism but those charges were later dropped by public prosecutors.

The charges were brought after a joint investigation by prosecutors and the Judicial Police that followed complaints by the families of the six youths, who were cleared of charges of resisting arrest and assault.

(Reporting by Catarina Demony, editing by Axel Bugge)

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