Thank god the Christmas and New Year clean-up is finally done and dusted. To be truthful I don’t mind putting up the decorations, and even though it takes less time taking them down, it is one job I hate doing.
Anyway, I’ve been trying to catch up with what’s going on and it seems that Goncalo Amaral now is taking Leonor Cipriano’s solicitor to Court for defamation.
Seriously are you having a laugh here? So Goncalo wants 3,o00 euros each from Marcos Aragão Correia and António Pedro de Andrade Dores for a document produced in April 2008 where Marcos Aragão Correia wrote about the torture of Leonor Cipriano.
Hold on a minute, am I missing something here? Can someone please explain, how Goncalo Amaral can accuse these two gentlemen of defamation when in 2009 what Correia actually wrote was proven. The Court admitted Leonor Cipriano was tortured but they could not ascertain by who. And according to Portuguese judicial records, Goncalo himself received a a conviction for this, and if my memory serves me correctly he received 18 months suspended for two years.
Now back in March this year, Goncalo Amaral thought he was going to win his appeal to get that sentence quashed but he lost. Yes in March 2011 the Court of Evora rejected his appeal and upheld his original sentence.
My god he does seem desperate, and according to Joana Morais blog the hearing for this is at Faro Court on the 9th February 2012, the same day as he supposed to be in Lisbon fighting a libel case against him for accusing the McCanns of being involved in what happened to their daughter.
So let me get this right, he can say someone was involved in the disappearance of their daughter and they were probably helped by others to dispose of their daughter and they hid their child’s body in a freezer, only to transport it days later in a car they hired; but no-one can say he was involved in a case of another missing child in which he was made an arguido on the 4th May 2007 and later convicted of perjury and falsifying documents. Is that right?
So basically he can write a load of crap about the family of a missing child and that is classed as freedom of speech yet anyone that writes the truth, which is proven in a court of law, is writing libellous content.
Just one more thing, your comment Joana (Screenshot):
Happy New year Guerra 🙂 You raise a good point, why on the same date? It could be a mere coincidence, in that case one of the court trials will probably have to be postponed. According to Sky News article (http://news.sky.com/home/uk-news/article/16128127), spinned by Team McCann the court dates for the libel claim trial against Gonçalo Amaral are supposed to take place on the 9th and 10th of February. I’ve tried to get a confirmation on those dates here http://www.citius.mj.pt/Portal/consultas/ConsultasAgenda.aspx so far I wasn’t able to find anything.
If my memory serves me right, I think we originally got the information about this court case from twitter via a Portuguese twitter user and a mod on a forum you run.
You see your own blog reported the trial will be commencing on the 9th and 10th February back in October 2011, the 11th day to be precise.
You see, you quote the Source as Sky News, which again is wrong as the Sky News Article is dated December 2011, the 11th to be precise, 2 months AFTER your blog stated it.
Perhaps you should ask Astro where she got her dates from, when she was begging for extra money to help him fight the McCanns.
Statewatch Article – http://database.statewatch.org/article.asp?aid=29207
Statewatch article: RefNo# 29207
Portugal: Report on torture suffered by Leonor Cipriano
Statewatch News Online, May 2008
SOS Prisões and ACED produced a report that they sent to high-ranking Portuguese authorities with competencies in this field concerning the allegations of torture suffered in September 2004 by Leonor Cipriano at the hands of the judicial police in their offices in Faro. She is currently serving a 16-year and eight-month prison sentence in Odemira women’s prison, after she was found guilty of killing her eight-year-old daughter Joana, who she reported as having disappeared. Cipriano maintains her innocence and told the author of the report, lawyer Marcos Aragão Correia, who visited her in prison on 8 April 2008, that there was no evidence to prove the allegations, before describing how she was mistreated for two days in order to induce her to sign a confession of this horrendous crime, which she eventually did. Correia also met the director of Odemira prison, Ana Maria Calado, who confirmed suspicions about Cipriano’s treatment, noting that she was “shocked about the conditions in which Cipriano entered the prison”. ACED argues that it does not have the means to confirm what the situation in terms of the practice of torture by the police in Portugal may be, but calls on the state to comply with its international obligations.
Leonor Cipriano’s account
After accepting to meet Correia, Cipriano denied having played any part in the death of her daughter Joana, who disappeared on the evening of 12 September 2004 after she went out to buy some groceries for her mother in a nearby shop in Figueira, near Portimão, as she often did. Upon seeing that her daughter was taking longer than expected, she went to the shop and was told that Joana had been there, but had already left with a few groceries, after which the Guarda Nacional Republicana was called. On 25 September, Leonor Cipriano was placed in preventive detention in Odemira prison, and was taken by judicial police officers to their offices in Faro on the next day. She was upset by the allegations made against her (that she had killed Joana, cut her up and fed her remains to pigs), which she rejected. Meanwhile, and in the absence of any evidence, the five officers involved became aggressive, shouted and unsuccessfully tried to convince her to confess, after which the torture began. Two glass ashtrays were placed on the floor, and Leonor was forced to kneel on them, without being allowed to get up until she confessed. She showed Correia the scars on her knees, still visible four years later. She was then sat on a chair with a green plastic shopping bag over her head, and officers started striking her on the head with a cardboard tube, causing her haemorrhages resulting in blood descending to her eyes, and her hands were struck when she tried to take the bag off her head. She was told that she would not get out of there until she confessed, and was made to stand, sometimes with the bag on her head and sometimes without it, and punched and kicked on the side of her ribs, repeatedly.
The torture lasted for two days, after which she signed a confession, and she was then returned to prison, where her serious conditions led to her being taken to Odemira health centre. She was told by judicial police officers to tell the doctor that she had thrown herself down a flight of stairs in the Faro judicial police headquarters in a suicide attempt, threatening that if she spoke of any aggression, she would be interrogated again and would not survive. Cipriano said she did as they demanded in their presence, but told the prison officers and director of the prison what had happened once they left. The director ordered photographs to be taken of her, and for a legal-medical report to be drawn up as a result of her poor conditions. Leonor Cipriano’s brother João was also reportedly tortured and found guilty of the murder, although the prison to which he was taken did not run the same checks to determine whether he had been subjected to an aggression. After they were both found guilty, he wrote to his sister to apologise for the lies he had been forced to tell about her. When Leonor was invited to identify her aggressors by an investigating magistrate in Évora in 2006, she was only able to identify one official who was present and did nothing to prevent the abuses, possibly because she had had a bag over her head for long periods, or due to the time that had passed, or because not all her torturers were among the six officers placed before her.
The prison director
Correia then spoke to Odemira prison director Ana Maria Calado, who confirmed Leonor Cipriano’s account, noting how shocked she was about her conditions, with black marks, haematomae and bruising in her face, mainly around her eyes, her head and ribs, mainly on her sides. She assured that the physical marks clearly indicated a violent aggression and not a fall down some stairs, something the legal-medical report also confirmed. She noted that Cipriano’s conditions worsened a week after she was tortured, as the blood that had gathered at the height of her brows was so much that it ended up falling over her eyes, leaving her practically blind for almost a month, and the director regrets not having ordered photographs of this period to be taken. She also said that relations between Cipriano and the prison guards and other prisoners were good, and that she did not believe that she had attempted suicide.
Calado expressed her surprise for a number of facts: a) that the judicial police did not take Cipriano to a health centre in Faro to certify that she had fallen down some stairs; b) that the day of her interrogation was chosen during Calado’s week of holidays, when she would never have allowed her to be picked up at 6 a.m. without a formal request by the judicial police; and c) that judicial police officers who arrived from Lisbon to investigate the allegations of torture proposed sharing the blame between the judicial police and prison, something she refused. Correia praised the director, describing her as “courageous” and as prizing “values” more highly than “corporate interests”.
The report concludes that the testimony of Leonor Cipriano and of the prison director, as well as other available evidence, are convincing in terms of proving that a crime of torture was committed by officers of the Portuguese judicial police. It condemns the use of “medieval methods” to “extract confessions at all cost, even if they are false”, as “inadmissible” and as harmful for Portugal’s image as an EU member that defends human rights and has a modern legal order and, as such, argues that these practices must be punished in “exemplary” fashion, or the Portuguese citizenry will lose faith in the judicial system.
The report ends with a message from Leonor Cipriano, who was treated as a monster as a result of the horrible nature of the crime she was accused and found guilty of committing:
“I hope that my daughter Joana appears, not only to be with her again, but also to show the world that it was the gentlemen officers of the judicial police who tortured me and who are the real monsters”.
Relatório sobre Tortura de Leonor Cipriano, 8.4.2008, ACED – Associação Contra a Exclusão pelo Desenvolvimento, SOS Prisoes – report (pdf)
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Translation of Document – Portugal – SOS
President of the Republic;
President of the Assembly of the Republic;
Chairman of the Committee for Constitutional Affairs, Rights, freedoms and guarantees of AR;
Attorney-General of the Republic
Minister of Justice;
Inspector-General of Bureau of Justice;
President’s Commission on Human Rights of the BarLisbon, 8-04-2008
N. Ref No 16/apd/08
As a lawyer of the ACED, Dr. Marcos Aragão Correia asked for the Policia Judiciaria to be prosecuted in connection with the allegations of the torture of Leonor Cipriano.
It was concluded, as it is in the public domain, that the existence of several signs and lines of evidence and the number of witnesses to the brutality and irrationality of the police’s methods of investigation meant that this complaint should be admitted and go forward.
We remember the defence of the accused person at her trial, Leonor Cipriano, who said she had been threatened and tortured by members of the police.
Some of the key players involved in this case have been mobilised to work in cases of high national and political delicacy, and have been speaking out without any sort of restraint.
In addition to what our lawyer, Dr Marcos Aragão Correia, said, it also could be a possibility in Portugal that certain public health institutions are able to cover up, or not report, practices of torture against patients by themselves. It may be that there are members of our state security system who are organising themselves to cover up the routine practice of torture to extract confessions.
This may be happening in other prisons, but there have been no complaints in similar situations in other prisons.
The ACED is not, it is good to see, meaning itself to confirm or disprove what is inferred to be the situation in Portugal regarding the current practice of police torture. But the Portuguese state is signatory to international conventions that we are sure it will want to abide by.
So this report must be sent to the highest Portuguese authorities, hoping that the name of Portugal can no longer be linked to such shameful conduct by the police.
Following the public allegations by Leonor Cipriano that she was tortured by the Policia Judiciara back in September 2004, she is now currently in prison while serving a sentence of 16 years and 8 months in the Prison of Odemira.
The ACED (Association Against Exclusion for Development) decided to investigate in more detail the claims of Leonor Cipriano and others, especially when the situation had become urgent, to clarify the extent to which the Policia Judiciara routinely engage in torture.
It seems that these medieval methods of criminal investigation apply both in the most recent case of the girl Madeleine Beth McCann, and in the case of Leonor Cipriano.The social position of these two sets of parents could not be more opposite.
Thus, after obtaining the kind and generous permission of the representative of Leonor Cipriano, the Portuguese Dr. John Grade dos Santos, I visited Leonor Cipriano in Odemira Prison, in Alentejo, arriving shortly after 9 o’clock in the morning today (April 8, 2008).
Leonor Cipriano was summoned, and agreed to talk with me in the room reserved for lawyers at the prison for the purpose.
Leonor Cipriano maintained, with sincere conviction, that she had no involvement whatsoever in the death of her daughter Joana, who had gone missing on 12 September 2004, last being seen around 8.00pm.
Residents in the village of Figueira in Mexilhoeira Grande, near Portimão, remember seeing Joana walking towards a grocery store named ‘Pastry Célia’, around a quarter of a mile away from Leonor Cipriano’s home. The grocery store is owned by Mrs. Alfélia. She went there to buy some food, as she often did.
After about 10 minutes, when Joana did not return, Leonor Cipriano said she went to the grocery store to find her. The owner said she had been there, but left soon after making a few purchases that had been requested by her mother.
Leonor still tried to look for her daughter nearby, but in vain. As a result, the grocery owner Ms. Alfélia telephoned the GNR to ask for help. Immediately the National Republican Guard arived at the grocery store and the mother’s residence by 9.00pm that very evening.
Joana Cipriano was then 8 years old, born on May 31, 1996, and attending her 2nd year of schooling.
Leonor Cipriano says she has 6 children, including Joana. The oldest is Dina Maria, now 18 years. Next is Mark Anthony, 12 years, Joana would now be 11, André Filipe is now 8, Ruben 6, and Lara Sofia who is 4.
Despite all the public defamation of Leonor Cipriano, the older children by and large support their mother. They are the offspring of different relationships.
Leonor’s former partner, David Anthony Leandro Silva, has now separated from her due to all the stresses of the situation. He is the father of her two youngest children. He says he always treated Joana as his own daughter, with five of them living in the same house. Leandro Silva has always claimed that Leonor Cipriano was utterly incapable of hurting any of her six children.
It was on September 25, 2004 that Leonor Cipriano was received at the Prison of Odemira and detained there. There she was immediately taken for interrogation by several detective inspectors of the Policia Judiciara to the premises of the Faro police. This is the place where Leonor Cipriano suffered hell. Her tears just ran and ran; I saw copious tears in my presence.
I practise mainly in criminal law. I think I can say with great conviction that her tears were genuine. Leonor cried when she recalled what those Policia Judiciara did to her during her interrogation. They accused her of directly causing her death and then cutting up her body and feeding it to the pigs.
Leonor refused to admit to such accusations. These police officers had no evidence. They had no evidence of the material used for the alleged cutting of Joana’s body. They had no evidence of bones left by the pigs. The inspectors themselves were pigs, about five of them, screaming and trying to get her to confess what they wanted her to confess. Leonor refused to confess. So the torture began. First the inspectors put two glass ashtrays on the floor and forced Leonor to kneel on them.
They did not allow her to get up from her knees throughout this torture. Leonor has described to me how she was in pain for hours during this procedure. She had scars on her knees. Almost 4 years later, these scars are still visible, and will probably remain with her for the rest of her life. There are white lines on both her knees that show that she has fallen victim to such abuse, or at least something very similar.
When they realised that this procedure of forcing her to kneel on ashtrays was getting them nowhere, the detective inspectors, sitting on their chairs, then put Leonor’s head in a green, plastic supermarket bag. As they screamed, trying to force a false confession from her, the inspectors began to attack Leonor on the head with a hard cardboard tube, normally used for sending documents by mail.
This very hard pipe, used with extreme force on Leonor’s head, caused bleeding to her eyes. On occasions when Leonor tried to get the bag off her head, she was immediately assaulted further on her hands. She pleaded with them not to kill her.
These serious assaults were interwoven with other forms of torture. Sometimes Eleanor was able to stand once in a while, sometimes holding the bag, sometimes not holding the bag. On the occasions she was standing, the inspectors punched her violently with strong punches, especially on her sides.
This procedure was repeated many times. The torture lasted 2 days. Leonor says she was afraid of dying there. So after 2 days of continuous torture, she signed the confession that was put in front of her, without even reading it, because otherwise she feared she might die.
In possession of Leonor’s false confession, the inspectors then returned her to the prison. But on admission, it was noted that her state of health was so serious that the prison authorities decided to move her to the Medical Centre in Odemira Prison. In fact, Faro Hospital had the most comprehensive health care, with input from Californian health care experts, but she was still sent to Odemira Prison by the detectives. Leonor Cipriano had been warned before going back to Odemira Prison to tell the doctor and the prison authorities that she had thrown herself down the stairs of the offices of the Faro Police Station in order to try to commit suicide.
She had been threatened that if she revealed any details of the 2-day assault on her, they would bring her back for a further assault. She had been told by the Faro detectives that if she had to return to Faro Police Station they would beat her until she was no longer alive.
Leonor confirmed to the prison authorities, in the presence of them, exactly what they had been told by the insepctors to say.
But scarcely had they left the prison, than Leonor decided to tell the whole truth to the guards and to the Director of Odemira Prison. She – the Prison Governor – was alarmed by the precarious state of health and the pain of Leonor Cipriano. She therefore arranged for her to be photographed and sent back to the Odemira Prison Medical Centre, this time to be seen by a top Consultant Doctor.
I talked for almost 2 hours to Leonor Cipriano. I had been careful to also arrange for a meeting immediately afterwards with the Director of Odemira Prison, in order to confirm this information. I promptly received this confirmation. I talked with the Director of Odemira Prison for about one hour. Her name is Ana Maria Calado.
She has a degree in Sociology and also attended a course of Medicine. She has been the Director of Odemira Prison for 7 years. She confirmed to me the courage with which Leonor Cipriano had reported her torture.
She is clearly a person who puts great emphasis on the value of corporate interests. Dr. Ana Maria told me she was shocked by the state in which Leonor Cipriano entered the prison.
She told me that the black marks, contusions and bruises were visible abundantly in the face, especially around the eyes, on the head and on her back, mainly to the sides.
These findings were confirmed by medical experts in the prison. The physical marks on her, the doctors concluded, clearly indicated violent attacks, and not a by a simple falling down the stairs. These physical marks were numerous and quite pronounced.
During our meeting, Dr Ana Maria surprised me with several new facts. She told me that the Portuguese Judiciara had not even bothered to convey her to a hospital in Faro.
Another strange fact was that the Portuguese police had chosen Tuesday as the day to question her, coinciding with its week of vacation.
If I were the head of the police, I would never have allowed the behaviour of the Policia Judiciara. They got Leonor Cipriano at 6 o’clock in the morning, and then returned for her in the middle of the night. There was no formal request for this form of interrogation from the Director of the Policia Judiciara.
It was even stranger that, when enquiries began with an internal investigation into the interrogation and torture of Leonor Cipriano by the PJ, a team of two inspectors from Lisbon held a private meeting with her in prison. Their mission was to try to negotiate a sharing of blame between the PJ and the Odemira Prison in relation to the attacks on, and torture of, Leonor.
As a person of integrity, Dr. Ana Calado obviously refused to come to any compromise regarding something for which the establishment for which she was responsible at the time – Odemira prison – had no responsibility for whatsoever.
The Chief Prison Medical Officer said that Leonor Cipriano’s health had got even worse a week after she had been tortured. The blood had accumulated around the eyebrows and became highly inflamed and swollen, making her nearly blind for nearly a month.
My only regret today, said Dr Ana Calado, was that at the time I did not order more photographs to be taken to illustrate Leonor’s poor state of health on admission and immediately afterwards. Dr Ana Maria’s statement added: “I must say that in terms of her attitude and behaviour, Leonor Cipriano is one of the best prisoners that I have had for many years. She has not tried to commit suicide although she had many opportunities to do so after the fateful interrogation. Leonor has always had an excellent relationship with all the prison guards and the other prisoners, which has gone from strength to strength.”
With a touch of humor, Dr Ana Calado added that: “If your car had exploded this morning, I already know who would have been responsible!”.
Our meeting ended and it confirmed for me all the details of the excellent statement that Dr Ana Calado had already made in this case.
John Cipriano, aged 38 years, the brother of Leonor and older by one year, says that he was tortured separately, according to the same report, but the prison to which her brother was sent should now carry out the same steps to gather evidence of assault as did the authorities at Odemira prison.
John Cipriano wrote to Leonor, after the two of them had been sentenced. He begged her to forgive him for all the lies he had told in court, which he had been forced to come up with because of the torture of him. He asked his sister to forgive him for all these lies.
Leonor Cipriano tried to identify, at the request of prosecutors, the four or five detective inspectors that had tortured her. Accordingly, she was transported to Évora in 2006 to try to recognise some of the torturers. She was invited to see if she could identify up to six inspectors.
Unfortunately, given the lapse of time, and the fact that she had often had a bag over her head when attacked, she was unable to be certain of recognising any of the aggressors.
The only thing that Leonor was able to say with absolute certainty was that Gonçalo Amaral, then coordinator of the CID of Portimão, was present throughout the interrogation, watching complacently while all the torture took place. Every time she was able to open her eyes and every time she was beaten, Amaral was there, walking from one side to another without ever trying to prevent any of the torture carried out by his subordinates.
Given the high degree of credibility of the testimony of Leonor Cipriano, which is now not only supported by her brother John Cipriano, but also by Anthony David Leandro Silva, her partner and father of her two youngest children, and above all by the absolutely credible testimony of the Director of Odemira Prison, Dr. Ana Maria Calado, and in fact supported by medical expertise, I believe this is a case where there is clear prima facie evidence of a crime of torture perpetrated by officials of the Portuguese Judicial Police on Leonor Cipriano.
It is completely unacceptable that officials of the Policia Judiciara continue to use medieval methods to obtain confessions at all costs, even if they are false. Remember that during the Spanish Inquisition 600 years ago, you would have been tortured to death if you refused to admit that you were guilty of witchcraft.
This behaviour from one of the key organs of the state – from police officers of the national Judiciary Police – is highly detrimental to the image of Portugal, which is now completely under the rule of law, is now an active a member of the European Union, and a defender of human rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.
Such medieval conduct should be thoroughly dealt with in case it deals a further blow to the trust of Portuguese and foreign citizens in the Portuguese legal system.
In fact an authority such as the Policia Judiciara, given that it is responsible for ensuring that people comply with the law, has a much increased duty, compared with the ordinary citizen, to set an example of complying with the law. The crime of these inspectors has special moral and legal considerations.
We need to re-establish and maintain the parameters of the rule of law that constitutionally enshrine democratic Portugal. Unless this Cipriano case is dealt with properly, there is a risk that our country could once again be ranked, nationally and internationally, as a fascist country, as has already been insinuated in some foreign newspapers.
We can not fail to highlight the parallels between the cases of the disappearance of Joana Cipriano and that of Madeleine McCann. Both disappeared a few miles away from each other, and both cases were investigated by the same Department of Criminal Investigation of Portimão’s Judicial Police.
In the first case, no valid evidence was collected against Leonor Cipriano. In the second case, there has been a succession of unpunished leakages of information arising from the PJ’s investigation. There have been repeated stories leaked to the national press where it refers to ‘a PJ source’ or ‘a source close to the investigation’, and so forth. In the second case, that of Madeleine, there is, despite the scattergun release of so-called ‘information’, absolutely no evidence against Kate and Gerry McCann. This was implicitly admitted by the Director of the PJ himself, Alipio Ribero, when he declared that making the McCanns ‘arguidos’ was ‘hasty’.
By contrast, the suspects, Kate and Gerry McCann, are prohibited from discussing the case to the press, preventing them from exercising their legitimate right to defend themselves against slander promoted all the time by so-called ‘sources close to the investigation’.
Read for example the appalling article written by the Fondation Princesse de Croÿ, with the very direct title: “Madeleine McCann possibly eaten by Portuguese pigs” – (see http://fondationprincessedecroy.over-blog.org/article-12736754.html)
This article reveals how in Canada the international image of the Portuguese judicial authorities and of Portugal itself is being tarnished.
It is therefore necessary that the Portuguese state eliminates once and for all the persistent attacks on human rights that are still raging with impunity, especially in the Portguese police and amongst those who claim to be agents of law and defenders of those rights at a national level.
This should lead not only to the punishment of the offenders, because that only indirectly prevents further abuse by the state authorities, but also to our taking direct preventive action.
We need to make a strong and pro-active effort to eliminate any development within all the organs of the police authorities that are not the result of a genuine training in all the technical, disciplinary, legal and moral components of modern policing, both in theory and practice.
It is better for there to be some guilty people in freedom, than for there to be one innocent in prison.
Portimão, 08 April 2008