Justice near for Angolan dad ‘unlawfully killed’ by UK guards
(GIN) — In a surprise ruling, a UK jury said three British security guards “unlawfully killed” an Angolan father held in a stress position prior to his deportation to Angola on British Airways. An earlier hearing had dismissed all charges against the guards.
In the incident with overtones of the Trayvon Martin case in Sanford, Fla., the victim, Jimmy Mubenga, a father of five, was overheard crying out: “Let me up. You’re killing me. You’re killing me,” as the guards restrained him face down for almost an hour.
One of the officers was heard telling him, “Stop struggling. We’ll let you go once we are airborne.” But the flight never took off. One of the officers described the moment when “suddenly it was as if he just gave up.”
Returning the verdict of unlawful killing, the jury foreman said, “Mr. Mubenga was pushed or held down by one or more of the guards, causing his breathing to be impeded.
“We find that they used unreasonable force and acted in an unlawful manner. The fact that Mr. Mubenga was pushed or held down, or a combination of the two, was significant, that is more than minimal, cause of death.”
The incident occurred in October 2010, but the latest verdict was announced just last week.
The July 9 verdict, nine jurists to one, may finally bring justice for the tragically killed Mubenga. The decision could reopen the case against the guards of the private security firm G4S who, it later emerged, exchanged racist jokes and had “very racially offensive material” on their cell phones, according to the coroner.
Initially, the Crown Prosecution Service decided that neither G4S nor the three guards would face manslaughter charges due to “conflicting witness accounts.”
“It’s been a long journey for me and my family,” said Adrienne Makenda Kambana, Mubenga’s widow, in a statement after this week’s verdict. “I thank the jury for a good verdict, the only true verdict.”