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Blair regrets killing of Brazilian; Straw apologises

July 26, 2005 09:27 IST
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British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said he was 'desperately sorry' that an innocent man was shot by the police on the tube last week, but urged people to support the police in the wake of the London bombings.

Brazilian electrican Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead on Friday at London's Stockwell station after he was mistaken for a suicide bomber.

"We are desperately sorry for the death of an innocent person. I understand entirely the feelings of the young man's
family," Blair told reporters on Monday.

"But we also have to understand the police are doing their job in very very difficult circumstances and it is important that we give them every support," he said.

The prime minister said the police would have been criticised for failing to act had the man turned out to be a terrorist.

Earlier, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw apologised to Brazilain Foreign Minister Celso Amorim for the killing of Menezes. Straw said he 'profoundly regretted' the death.

Straw said he did not know Menezes' precise immigration status, but said it was his 'understanding that he was here lawfully'.

Amorim said the dead man's family wanted his body quickly returned to Brazil.

He said compensation from the Metropolitan police was important for what was a 'humble' family.

Also Read: The London Blasts

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