A 77-year-old White Portuguese man implicated in the fatal shooting of a Black actor of Guinean origin was on Monday sentenced to 22 years and nine months in prison by a court in the European country.
According to Reuters, Portuguese authorities determined the July 2020 killing of 39-year-old Bruno Cande by Evaristo Marinho in Avenida de Moscavide was racially motivated. Marinho, a 77-year-old veteran who took up arms for Portugal during the war against its former colony Angola, reportedly hurled racial slurs at Cande before shooting him several times. Some of the abusive words Marinho was said to have told the deceased Black actor before killing him included “go back to your country.”
Cande’s death triggered demonstrations against racial discrimination in Portugal’s capital city of Lisbon with protesters also calling for justice for the deceased actor as well as other people who have fallen victim to racial abuse. Cande’s death also reportedly reignited the conversation surrounding racism in the country as well as the southern European country’s historic ties to colonialism.
“Bruno Cande lost his life and left his family and friends,” Joacine Katar Moreira, a Guinea-Bissau-born Portuguese lawmaker tweeted after Marinho’s conviction. “This murder hit us all – 22 years is the minimum to alleviate the pain and anger we feel.”
In March, the foremost human rights body in Europe, the Council of Europe, called on Portugal to put in extra effort to confront its historic ties to colonialism as well as the role it played during the transatlantic slave trade, Reuters reported. The council said it is prudent in helping the country curb racism and discrimination.
The Portuguese conveyed more enslaved Africans out of the continent than any other European nation. Some historians put the Portuguese consignment of slaves between the 15th and 18th centuries at more than five million. Despite the atrocities committed, Portugal’s dark history is usually spoken about with contentment, according to Reuters. That part of the country’s history is also seldomly spoken about and hardly taught in schools.
“Further efforts are necessary for Portugal to come to terms with past human rights violations to tackle racist biases against people of African descent inherited from a colonial past and historical slave trade,” the Council of Europe said in its report.