At a press conference at the end of a European Council, António Costa recalled that he does not usually "comment on internal policy issues" in Brussels, but made a point of "making an exception so that there is not the slightest doubt" about his support for Cabrita.
"I maintain full confidence in Dr. Eduaro Cabrita as Minister of Internal Affairs. It was the minister who did his job. As soon as word got out about the case, he had an inquiry opened. The inquiry he opened was what made it possible to ascertain the full truth. He immediately informed the judicial authorities to proceed criminally. And he assured, with the Ombudsman, an agile mechanism to be able to make the due reparation to the family for this barbaric act that occurred by a security force", he said.
The Head of Government added that, "More than that, [the minister] has already readied the reform of our border police system, which will undergo a profound reform, in order to adjust it not only to what is the need for scrupulous respect for democratic legality and human rights but also to comply with a measure already provided for in the Government programme , long before this case, which was to have a total separation between what are the police functions and the administrative management functions of foreigners residing in Portugal".
The Minister of Internal Affairs, Eduardo Cabrita, said on Thursday that he is with a clear conscience about his mandate, stressing that the decision to leave the government is up to the prime minister. In recent days, Eduardo Cabrita's continued role as minister has been questioned by some political parties, following the death of a Ukrainian citizen at the Facilities of the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) at Lisbon Airport, but he ruled out the possibility of resigning. "Just as I am here because the Prime Minister understood at that time so difficult [in October 2017] to ask for my contribution in these new functions, also in this matter only the Prime Minister can answer them," Eduardo Cabrita said at a press conference at the end of the Council of Ministers.
Asked if he still has the political confidence of António Costa, the Minister of Internal Affairs said that only the Prime Minister could respond, but, taking stock of his three years in office, said he was with a clear conscience and even proud. "I have been Minister of administration since the 21 October, since 2017, following particularly difficult conditions for the country after the forest fires," he recalled, noting that during this period he guaranteed "three years of absolute safety, zero lives lost to civilians in rural fires." On the case of the death of Ihor Homenyuk in particular, Eduardo Cabrita repeated that his ministry took all necessary measures and returned all criticism, accusing parties, commentators and the media of not having given due attention to the issue.
"Welcome to the fight against the defense of human rights," he said in a sarcastic tone, stressing that his determination in this area "is always and has not begun in March, let alone in recent weeks." On the 30 March, the three SEF inspectors suspected of being involved in the assaults were arrested by the JUDICIARY and the MAI fired the SEF officials in the direction of borders at the airport. The death of Ihor Homenyuk led to the indictment of three SEF inspectors for first-degree murder, who are under house arrest and whose trial will begin next year. The case led to the resignation of the director and deputy director of Borders at Lisbon airport and, on Wednesday, the director of SEF, Cristina Gatões, and the establishment of 12 disciplinary proceedings.