Friday, 8 January 2010

Can You Mention Human Rights, Portugal and Goncalo Amaral In the Same Breath?

A Bruised and Battered Leonor Cipriano
After her Brush With Police Brutality

Goncalo Amaral says he has been an criminal investigator with the policia judiciaria (PJ) in Portugal for 30 years, it is hard to believe that in view of his recent conviction for concealing a torture then lying to cover it up, one realises that during his 30 years, this cannot be the only case where he has been suspect of beating a witness and forcing their confessions under duress, obviously he has done such a thing before.

In February 2009 allegations of ill treatment by Portugal's law enforcement officers were received by the UN Committee Against Torture. There are grave concerns about torture in Portuguese prisons and the excessive use of force, including the use of firearms reports Amnesty International.

For those of you who follow this blog and our forum you will have read mention of the disgraced former policia judiciaria coordinator, Goncalo Amaral, last May 2009, he received an 18 month suspended prison sentence for his part in covering up the torture of Leonor Cipriano. Leonor Cipriano was convicted of murdering her daughter in the most appalling way and hiding her body, she denies this and only confessed to the murder because she was tortured for two days without let up, many top lawyers and members of the judicial police and the judiciary, claim that Leonor was not given a fair trial and that her guilt was nowhere near proved beyond reasonable doubt and as such, she should be set free, read what a former PJ Chief Inspector Dr Barra da Costa Martins has to say here: Dr Barra da Costa is now a much respected University Professor of Criminology and Criminal Psychology and instructor of criminal investigation.

Joana Cipriano who vanished from her home village, has never been found or seen since. Her mother and uncle made legal history in Portugal, when they went on trial accused of murdering Joana, with no body ever being found. Without a doubt, it looks like Leonor Cipriano is a victim of a horrendous miscarriage of justice.

"Medical reports and photographs of Leonor Cipriano recorded extensive injuries after two days in police custody in Faro. Police officials said that she fell down a flight of stairs in the police station; however the Institute of Forensic Medicine stated that her injuries were not consistent with such an incident and were more in keeping with an assault. Leonor Cipriano said that she was punched, kicked, had a plastic bag placed over head, and was forced to kneel on glass ashtrays during interrogations."

Leonor Cipriano failed to identify her attackers as she had a plastice bag over her head and could not see them, also withot a doubt the woman was in a very frail and terrified state in prison and is no doubt terrified of reprisals, should she identify her attackers, which are said to be Goncalo Amaral along with four of his lower ranking colleagues and now ex PJ inspectors Paulo Pereira Cristovao, Leonel Marques, Paulo Marques Bom and Antonio Cardoso.

These men the judge laughably let off on a technicality, because they refused to speak in the court and refused to recognise the process that took them to court. In other words they refused to recognise the process of law and order they had all sworn to uphold and they were blatantly allowed to get away with it.

This case will eventually end up at the European Court for Human Rights.

Goncalo Amaral the leading investigator in the Joana Cipriano investigation, is no stranger to controversy either, he has been involved in other miscarriages of justice, such as the case of Hugo (which can be read on this blog) and he was sacked from leading the hunt for missing Madeleine McCann and demoted from his position of police chief of Portimao. He has also been involved in accusations of brutality since he took "early retirement" from hs position in the PJ. A couple who live near hm claim to have been stalked by him, and threatened, he has also been accused of driving at speed around his neighbourhood while under the influence of alcohol. One person has reported that he was threatened with death by shooting and the lawyer of Leonor Cipriano was man handled and pulled through his car window, while sitting in the street outside a restaraunt watching Amaral's firework display, the husband of a former "friend" of Goncalo Amaral was also attacked and punched in the face, by thugs which came for Amaral's party. These incidents have all been officially reported to the police and police incident numbers issued, also two separate claims and appeals for help and prtotection from Goncalo Amaral, were made to the attorney general, as yet the attorney general has done nothing to help these people.

It seems there are many cases like this in Portugal. In another case Michael Cook was beaten and tortured for days, refused food and wated and was refused visits to the bathroom and then forced to attend court in clothes he was forced to soil during his torture at the hands of the PJ. Mr Cook also maintained that the soles of his feet were beaten and then he was hung upside down out of a window while being held by his ankles. Michael Cook was accused and convicted of the murder of Rachel Charles.

Both Leonor Cipriano and Michael Cook vehemently deny murder and maintain they were tortured.

Goncalo Amaral is also due to stand trial next week commencing on the 15th January 2010 for the alleged torture of Leandro Silva, the partner of Leonor Cipriano.

These allegations of torture are far too often and far too common and they are repeatedly swept under the carpet.

How can Portugal be a member of the European Union while allowing these appalling crimes of police brutality, torture and police and judicial corruption to go unpunished?

With such an atrocious record of human rights how come that Portugal was ever accepted into the EU in the first place, while other countries who have done much to clean up their act have been refused entry?

"The Court of Appeal in Lisbon ordered a retrial in the case of Albino Libânio, who was assaulted by prison officers in Lisbon Prison in 2003. The Court granted a request by Albino Libânio’s lawyers for the Portuguese state to be named as a defendant. The decision was made on the grounds that, as his injuries occurred while he was in the care of the prison system, the state should be held liable even if it was impossible to prove which prison officers were responsible for the attack. The original trial had recognized the injuries suffered by Albino Libânio but acquitted all seven prison officers of assault because of lack of evidence proving their responsibility. A new trial date had not been set at the end of the year. "

Here again we see this rank hypocrisy, the same rank hypocrisy and contradiction we saw in the Leonor Cipriano torture trial!

"On 11 November 2003, Albino Libanio inquired with a trainee prison officer for a second time about the delivery of a package of food that he was expecting, and in doing so apparently used "inappropriate" language. The trainee prison officer considered his attitude disrespectful and reported the incident to the prison officer in charge of that wing of the prison. Albino Libanio was placed in a cell known as the "waiting room" or "cell 80", which was used for the temporary placement of inmates in transit and as a cell for the separate detention of violent or vulnerable inmates. In the evening, the trainee officer took Albino Libanio to an area where agroup of 10 to 15 prison officers had aligned themselves in two rows. Albino Libanio was forced to walk between the rows, while the prison officers pushed, kicked and punched him. Another prison officer noticed the commotion and led the prisoner away. None of the prison officers reported the incident. It became known by chance - on the following day Albino Libanio received a visit and told his visitors about the beating. They informed his lawyer who reported the attack to the Prison Service andthe Public Prosecutor. On 5 July 2004, Amnesty International wrote to the Minister of Justice toexpress the organization's concerns about the case; to request informationabout the criminal and disciplinary investigations which have been opened and to urge her to take action on the organization's recommendations.

Violence Against Women and Girls in Portugal

The Portuguese Association of Victim Support received 16,832 complaints concerning domestic violence in 2008, including seven murders. This represented an increase over the 14,534 complaints of domestic violence received in 2007.
According to statistics compiled by the NGO Women’s Union, 48 people died as a result of domestic violence in the year to mid-November.

Amnesty International Report 2009 - Portugal

Allegations of torture and other ill-treatment and excessive use of force by law enforcement officials remained a concern. The prosecution of law enforcement officials implicated in two high-profile cases of torture and other ill-treatment proceeded slowly. Domestic violence continued to be a widespread problem, leading to numerous deaths.
Torture and other ill-treatment

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