SEF detains lawyer suspected of making unfounded asylum applications

The Aliens and Borders Service (SEF) has complied with a search warrant for the home of a lawyer in the Lisbon area, who is suspected of being exclusively involved in making unfounded applications for asylum, with large financial rewards from foreign citizens, who had been refused entrance into national territory. The investigation of the SEF, denominated “Operation Lingala”, lasted more than a year.

The lawyer was constituted defendant and was notified to appear in court. There are also strong indications of her involvement in a cell in Dakar, Senegal, which allegedly indicated the suspicion that foreign nationals came to Portugal and could subsequently initiate asylum applications.

After the detention of the foreign citizens in the Equipped Space to the Temporary Installation Center (EECIT) at the Lisbon Airport, to which the entry was refused, the lawyer immediately arrived where she requested the consultation of the respective processes, as well as the contact with the passengers (mostly nationals of African countries whose flights originated in Dakar, Luanda and Casablanca) without being asked to attend.

Then, in order to prevent them from being removed to their country of origin, the lawyer submitted an asylum application on behalf of the foreign citizen, as well as a power of attorney appointing her as an agent.

This abuse of the international protection mechanism through asylum applications, which were mostly unfounded, had the sole purpose of preventing intercepted passengers from returning to their country of origin, a move which gave the suspicion a high financial contribution.

During the searches made to her apartment, which also functioned as an office, computer and communication equipment used by the suspects, schedules, notebooks with indication of amounts collected, as well as proof of transfers / receipts of monetary amounts via financial agencies or banks were seized.


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