Duarte Levy..

Freelance journalist

Maddie: the “speculation” does not reopen the investigation

Magalhães e Meneses

Magalhães e Meneses - one of the magistrates coordinating the process

In a reply sent today to Lusa, the Portuguese news agency, the Public Prosecutor Office qualified all the information published in the press regarding the British paedophile, Raymond Hewlett, as “speculation”.
The presumed suspect, identified and sentenced as a paedophile by the British authorities in cases dating back to the 70s, has admitted that he was in the Algarve the night of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, but the Prosecutor still considers that the information is not sufficient to reopen the investigation.
In the reply sent to the news agency, the Public Prosecutor Office has confirmed being “alert to the signs that are appearing” and ready to reopen the investigation “when concrete facts emerge that the magistrates coordinating the process consider important and credible”. According to the Public Prosecutor, the “speculation, opinions or comments are not sufficient to reopen the investigation”.
Hewlett, aged 64 and in the final phase of a terminal cancer, is not the first “suspect” identified in the British press, but he has become the centre of attention. Clarence Mitchell, spokesperson for Kate and Gerry McCann, has convinced an English newspaper this week not to reveal the photos of two presumed suspects of Portuguese and German nationality. The tabloid was getting ready to identify the two men as “principal suspects” but the specialist in communication and public relations has rejected this information.

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Filed under: Madeleine McCann, , , , , ,

“Justice and Delinquency”: Gonçalo Amaral’s new book

"Justice and Delinquency" reunites texts from judiciary professionals and operators, among others, about criminality in Portugal.

"Justice and Delinquency" reunites texts from judiciary professionals about criminality in Portugal.

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Gonçalo Amaral, former coordinator of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, launches a new book with a compilation of essays on crime in Portugal, signed by several specialists in the matter.
Coordinated by Gonçalo Amaral himself, “Justice and Delinquency” is a compilation of opinions, proposals, solutions and analysis written by judges, lawyers, prosecutors, a criminal investigation coordinator, a journalist and a psychologist.
Among the authors of “Justice and Delinquency” are: Rui Rangel (Judge), Maria dos Santos Ribeiro (Judge), Maria Clara Oliveira (Prosecutor), Marta Daniela Seixas (Deputy Prosecutor), Paulo Sargento (psychologist and university professor), Hernâni Carvalho (journalist and psychologist), and the lawyer Manuel Augusto Meireis.
The former coordinator of the Judicial Police (PJ), author of “Maddie, the truth of the lie” (“Maddie, l’enquête interdite”, the French version available in Belgium and France), will present his new book “Justice and Delinquency” on 25 June 2009, at the bookshop “Alethea” in Lisbon.

Filed under: Media, Portugal, , , , ,

To see ourselves as others see us

The parents of two French students murdered by men who should have been in custody are outraged. So should we be

“Of course, misunderstandings can take a grip and be exacerbated by cultural differences. Remember how, in the case of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, the British press viciously attacked the Portuguese judiciary system and its representatives, often only out of sheer ignorance.”

From “The Independent on Sunday” by Agnès Poirier

It often takes a foreigner to see things not only more clearly but differently; for us to understand who we are; to recognise our strengths as well as our weaknesses. And it often takes a foreigner to make us feel ashamed of things we have learnt to endure passively. Reflected in their eyes, suddenly things we have simply put up with fill us with horror.
Last week, the British only had to see the faces of Guy Bonomo and Françoise Villemont, the parents of the French students savagely murdered in London last year, and to read their dignified and moving statements, to feel disgust at the shortcomings of the British justice system. As Jack Straw admitted, the two murderers “ could and should have been in prison at the time of the killing”. A series of unimaginable and appalling blunders at every level of the justice system – the police, the courts, the prison and the probation services – allowed the murderers to torture and kill two research scientists with brilliant futures.
Didn’t we say at the time that the murder of John Monckton in 2004, committed by another convict who should have been in prison at the time, and was considered as the unfortunate result of a “ collective failure” by probation and prison staff, would surely put an end to such possibilities.
But the murders of Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez might just mark a new beginning for Britain’s probation system. Why this case and not another? Not only for the particularly atrocious ways the two students died, the details of which stunned the whole nation, but because they are foreigners: Laurent and Gabriel were guests to this country.
There is nothing more shameful than to fail those who come to you with an open mind and healthy curiosity, a generous predisposition towards your culture and way of thinking. Laurent and Gabriel were indeed overjoyed to be accepted for a threemonth placement at London’s Imperial College. For biochemistry students from Clermont-Ferrand in central France, Imperial College, in particular, and Britain in general, represent one of the most prestigious goals in the world of science.
Britain’s universities are full of enthusiastic students from all over the world who spend the best years of their lives in Britain and go back home with memories they will always cherish. They love the vibrancy of their city and embrace British culture – complete with its little prejudices – lending the country, in return, a part of their youth, optimism and dynamism. But when their lives are taken away in such tragic circumstances, the failure of the system becomes the very hosts’ failure. When did we go blind? Why didn’t we react before, hosts start wondering.
I felt the same embarrassment when the young Caroline Dickinson was murdered in 1996, at Pleine-Fougères, a little Breton village I know well. A lovely 13-year-old had pleaded with her parents to let her go on a trip to discover France and learn French. Her interest for France lead to her brutal death at the hands of a ruthless predator, one that might never have been caught had it not been for the persistence of her father.
Caroline’s was a shockingly botched case. There had been many flaws in the French investigation. A wrong suspect was arrested, leaving time for the murderer to flee to the United States. It took eight long years, during which John Dickinson campaigned and set about exposing the police investigation, for the French Justice to finally find and bring to court the murderer, a Spaniard.
Caroline’s killer may not have been French and the French justice system may not have failed the Dickinson family the way the British one has the Bonomos and Ferezs, but the feeling of infamy remains, only perhaps because the victim was a guest, more vulnerable to an environment she didn’t know; her family having to battle against a system they did not understand.
Many Portuguese people must have felt the same way when Madeleine McCann disappeared from their idyllic seaside resort and their police were seemingly losing time in the crucial first days of the investigation. I have many Italian friends embarrassed both by the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia and much of what transpired since.
Of course, misunderstandings can take a grip and be exacerbated by cultural differences. Remember how, in the case of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, the British press viciously attacked the Portuguese judiciary system and its representatives, often only out of sheer ignorance. The Portuguese police reacted by making the parents “ official suspects”.
Great expectations can lead to great disappointments. British institutions are generally held in high regard throughout the world. The shock of Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez’s parents on learning of this breakdown of the judicial system in protecting their sons is all the greater given the high hopes they originally had in such an admired system. Imagine their horror, their sense of betrayal, when they realised that this very system was indirectly responsible for their children’s killing. Last week they announced that they would sue Britain for failing its duties, and who can wonder?
It can take a foreigner to see the failures in our midst and to address them in a way we would perhaps never have dared ourselves.
Would the parents of Jean Charles de Menezes, the innocent Brazilian man shot by the police at Stockwell tube station, have pursued their case so far had they been British? The relentless campaigning of Caroline Dickinson’s father, John, allowed for instance the first DNA testing of a whole village, a procedure which had never been done before in France. He was also key in the appointment of a new investigative magistrate in charge of his daughter’s case, a very rare action in France.
Guests should not need to contribute to putting their host’s house in order. But sometimes it takes a foreigner ….

A “Selected text” by Arthur Finkelstein

Filed under: Selected texts, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gonçalo Amaral tapped

The Maddie case is taboo for the PGR and the PJ

Gonçalo Amaral

Gonçalo Amaral

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“Many people linked to the Maddie case and the investigation made in Portugal, were or are still the target of tapping and surveillance,” said a source of the Home Office to 24Horas in answer to the affirmations made by the ex-coordinator of the Department of Criminal Investigation (DIC) of the Judicial Police (PJ) of Portimão.
Gonçalo Amaral said that he was “under surveillance” and he knows that his “phone is being tapped.” The former head of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann “does not know who is watching him”, but he affirms that his email has been the target of a constant curiosity and that part of this information has been transmitted to the McCanns.
“At the moment, there is information which has to be developed regarding the localisation and what might have happened to the body of the young girl,” said Amaral, accusing the Public Prosecutor (PGR) and the management of the PJ of making a taboo of the Maddie case, where “nobody does anything” allowing “that people external to the Portuguese justice and police force investigate crimes under the PJ’s responsibility”.
Gonçalo Amaral, who, until now, has not received any notification regarding the complaint for defamation announced by the McCanns, confirms that he will sue Kate and Gerry McCann and will prove that an “agreement existed” between the couple and the British police during the investigation, which supposedly influenced the end result of the investigation.
Maddie’s parents want to prevent the publication in English of the book “Maddie: The truth of the lie”, in which the ex-coordinator of the PJ reveals many details of the investigation he was leading in Praia da Luz and where he sustains the theory of Madeleine’s death. The decision of the couple was supposedly taken as a consequence of the disclosure of the documentary based on this book that TVI (Portuguese TV channel) broadcasted and is available on internet with English subtitles.

Amaral accuses the Public Prosecutor to have “trapped” him in the Leonor Cipriano case.

“I haven’t got any doubt that there was a trap from the Public Prosecutor which then led him to say during the judgement that I made a false testimony, because I should have been made arguido the first day, at the first hour, like my colleagues,” said Gonçalo Amaral on TVI (see video) on the fact of having been condemned in the lawsuit of Leonor Cipriano, confirming that he is going to appeal against the sentence.
The ex-coordinator, talking about his most recent experience made with law in Portugal, gave the example of two complaints presented around the same report worked out by an association in the Joanna Cipriano case: the complaint presented by Amaral over a year ago is on standby, whereas the second, presented by the opposing party, already has some arguidos.

Duarte Levy also on “24horas”

Filed under: Madeleine McCann, , , , , , , , ,

French commissary marks support for Amaral

Gonçalo Amaral

Gonçalo Amaral

PortuguêsFrançais

In Paris to launch the French version of his book “Maddie: The Truth of the Lie”, former PJ coordinator Gonçalo Amaral yesterday received the unexpected support of honorary commissary George Moréas, from the French judiciary police.
After reading Amaral’s book, which in France is titled “Maddie, the forbidden investigation”, commissary Moréas, the founder of the central department against heavy crime at the French police –  Office Central pour la Répression du Banditisme (O.C.R.B.) – stressed the difficulty of the PJ’s work facing the pressures on the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Gonçalo Amaral, who returns to Lisbon today, has defended the reopening of the process,  stating that the investigation into Maddie’s disappearance has to continue despite the fact that “now it’s necessary to search for a corpse”. For two days, the former PJ coordinator participated in several television and radio broadcasts in Paris, not forgetting about the newspapers and magazines that once more have given the case visibility.
In a statement to daily “Le Parisien”, Amaral accused Maddie’s parents of “having no will” to see the process reopened: “they don’t have the will for the truth to be known. Nevertheless, I’m convinced that there are still leads to explore. Unfortunately, it’s a cadaver that we’re looking for”.

Duarte Levy in 24horas

Filed under: Madeleine McCann, , , , , , , , ,

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