Foreigners who are banned from entering Portugal will be supported by the Portuguese Bar Association on March 8, Foreign Service and Borders

The interior and justice ministries had already announced the protocol with the Portuguese Bar Association (OA) in November, but a start date was not announced until this Tuesday: From March 8, foreigners, to whom they can enter Portugal by an order insured attorney supported.

The partnership was established after the death of Ihor Homenyuk a year ago on March 12, 2020 in the Temporary Installation Center (CIT) of Lisbon Airport. Ihor Homenyuk was banned on March 10th despite being exempt from a tourist visa as a Ukrainian. SEF refused entry on the grounds that it would come to work. He died two days later, on March 12, of mechanical asphyxiation after attacks by Inspectors Duarte Laja, Bruno Sousa and Luís Silva. This emerges from the Public Ministry’s prosecution of the three inspectors tried for the crime of qualified murder. by Ihor Homenyuk.

The protocol with the regulation therefore provides for a number of lawyers to seek legal aid and advice from foreign nationals who are banned from entering Portugal at the seven airports (Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Funchal, Porto Santo, Ponta Delgada and Lajes) . Only at Lisbon Airport will there be a number of personal lawyers, working in three shifts from 8:00 to 11:00, 11:00 to 14:00, and 14:00 to 17:00. A prevention scale is carried out at other airports. All citizens who are refused entry must be informed of the possibility of being assisted by a Portuguese lawyer in a language they understand, the statement said.

One of the questions raised by the MP in the prosecutor’s order was precisely the translation, carried out by an inspector who, as an employee, “was not qualified to do a translation for reasons of impartiality”.

The protocol does not guarantee legal assistance during the administrative process, namely the interrogation, which serves as the basis for the decision to refuse admission, which has been criticized by several lawyers such as José Gaspar Schwalbach, who represents the Homenyuk family. For this lawyer, this is the moment when the evidence of the reasons for entry and the conditions of stay is presented. For this reason, “legal support is essential for citizens who do not know our legal system and often do not even know their own language”.

However, this order record does not contain the proposal of the unregistered MP Cristina Rodrigues to support foreigners at all stages of the process, in the state budget. According to Cristina Rodrigues at the time, the PUBLIC said, “there is still a phase when the person is unaccompanied without an interpreter or lawyer, and it is precisely a fundamental phase that determines whether the person enters and is the most unprotected”.

The PUBLIC is waiting for a response from the MAI on why the protocol did not include support for foreigners before entry is denied.

The death of Ihor Homenyuk also resulted in changes in the functioning and regulation of the CIT, and legal aid was one of them.