Court grants damages in Mido Macia case

Court grants damages in Mido Macia case

A South African court has ordered police to pay compensation after a Mozambican immigrant was handcuffed and dragged behind a police van before dying in custody, a lawyer said Wednesday.

Mido Macia-gallo.jpg

Mido Macia, 27, died in police custody in February 2013 after being arrested for parking his car on the wrong side of the road in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg.

Video footage shot from a mobile phone showed Macia being manhandled, handcuffed to the back of a police van and pulled hundreds of metres (yards) along a road in front of a crowd of onlookers.

About two hours later, he was found dead in his cell in a pool of blood.

Macia's family lawyer Jose Nascimento told a news conference that following a protracted civil case, the High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday ordered the payout of an undisclosed sum.

He said the state had requested that the amount not be divulged, but it was less than the 6.5 million rand ($467,000/410,000 euros) requested by the family.

The death provoked widespread outrage, throwing the spotlight on a police force that has been repeatedly accused of brutality.

"We are happy with the conclusion of the matter and we are happy that we didn't have to go with a full-blown trial against the state," Nascimento said.

"We reached a sensible agreement for the benefit of the family.

"Most foreigners in the country feel that they are victims of xenophobia," said the lawyer, describing Macia's murder as "barbaric".

Eight policemen were jailed for 15 years each for the murder.

A post-mortem report found Macia suffered extensive head injuries, lacerations and bruising.

The country's police force is frequently caught up in allegations of misconduct, but successful convictions have been rare in recent years.

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