The third inspector of the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) convicted of the death in 2020 of Ukrainian citizen Ihor Homeniuk has already entered the Évora prison to serve his sentence, the defense said today.
Lawyer Ricardo Serrano Vieira confirmed to Lusa the information provided by Expresso, explaining that Duarte Laja turned himself in later than the other two convicted inspectors for health reasons. Bruno Sousa and Luís Silva had turned themselves in at Évora jail last Monday.
The three inspectors were sentenced to nine years in prison and have been under house arrest since 2020, so this period will be deducted from their sentences, leaving the three defendants with around five and a half years to serve.
Speaking to Lusa on Monday, the lawyer for the family of the Ukrainian citizen, José Gaspar Schwalbach, stressed the importance of the “real start of the sentence” for the defendants, considering it “a historic milestone” for the country and pointing to it as a sign that “no one is above the law”.
Luís Silva and Duarte Laja were sentenced in May 2021 to nine years in prison, while Bruno Sousa was sentenced to seven years by the Lisbon Central Criminal Court. At issue was the crime of aggravated serious bodily harm, aggravated by the result, the death, of Ihor Homeniuk at the SEF facilities at Lisbon airport in March 2020.
However, in December of that year, the Lisbon Court of Appeal upheld the sentences of the first two inspectors and also increased Bruno Sousa’s sentence to nine years, a decision confirmed in July 2022 by the Supreme Court of Justice (STJ), thus putting to rest the SEF inspectors’ successive appeals to the STJ and the Constitutional Court.
According to the prosecution’s indictment, Ihor Homeniuk died of slow asphyxiation after the inspectors kicked him and beat him with a baton, fracturing eight of his ribs. In addition, they left him handcuffed with his hands behind his back and face down, with difficulty breathing for a long time, which caused cardiopulmonary arrest.