«35 years after the '25 de Abril' [74 Carnation Revolution] I never thought that I would write a book on Censorship and Freedom of Expression». These were the first words spoken by Gonçalo Amaral at the presentation of his new book in Oporto. In 'The English Gag - The Story of a Forbidden Book' the former Judiciary Police Inspector tells how he saw his first publication, about the Maddie Case, being taken out of the market in September.
"This is a book of protest", said Gonçalo Amaral to SAPO [Portuguese Web Portal], stating that he is not outraged with the Portuguese Justice "that is still working" but with the way that the provisional injunction imposed by the McCanns was made.
"It was taken in secret [the decision] without all the parts being heard", explained the former PJ Inspector who wrote 'Maddie, The Truth of the Lie' in 2008.
The McCann couple also accuses Gonçalo Amaral of defamatory statements and ask, at least, for 1,2 million Euros. The trial was postponed to January. Gonçalo Amaral believes he can win the case.
Also present at the book launching [in Oporto] was the jurist and author, Carlos Abreu Amorim, who also disagrees with the injunction imposed on Gonçalo Amaral.
Carlos Abreu Amorim, one of the author's of Blasfémias blog considers the injunction an attempt to impose a "single version". "The McCann couple was able to impose on the Portuguese Justice the idea that Gonçalo Amaral's thesis is false", said the jurist, considering that the prohibition of the book was "an attack on the right of freedom of information".
Voice Over: The new book by Gonçalo Amaral can be understood in its title. The former Judiciary Police Inspector who followed the Maddie McCann Case at the beginning, wrote 'The English Gag' that reveals the story of a forbidden book. Gonçalo Amaral tells his readers how he saw his first book go out of circulation, at the same time that he reflects on censorship and freedom of expression.
Gonçalo Amaral: This is a book of protest. It's not a book of revolt against the Portuguese Justice, because the Portuguese Justice is still working. Now, it is the Portuguese Justice who allows this type of precautionary measure [the injunction] without the parts, without the requested parts being heard - The decision regarding the injunction was made in secret. It is this system, this Justice between inverted commas, this system that we have and the lack of other jurisdictional resources, as for example, the recurso de amparo [constitutional proceeding]* which lead us to this moment, where after a few months we are still waiting for a decision, and after we certainly still have to go to another instance [a superior court], until one day we finally reach the Constitutional court. So, there isn't a recurso de amparo* which could allows us to go straight to the Constitutional Court to question what is happening relatively to this matter.
Voice Over: The first book by Gonçalo Amaral, 'Maddie, The Truth of the Lie', was taken out of the market in September via a temporary injunction imposed by the McCann couple, who also accuses the former PJ inspector of defamation. With the beginning of the trial set for January, Gonçalo Amaral believes he can win the case.
Gonçalo Amaral: I have hope, I have faith and I have the certainty that Justice will be made, and we will win this cause. I have no doubts regarding that. If the other book will be published again that is an editorial matter that does not include me. Actually, the period for the book, that is another strange issue... All the books have a life period, the life period for that book had already ended, the book wasn't selling anymore, in fact, it started being sold again because of the injunction. So, the ends to which it was destined [the injunction on the book] only caused more problems, if the book indeed caused, as alleged, problems to the search of the child [as per McCann's claim].
Carlos Abreu Amorim, Jurist: I believe this decision will be reverted, because this decision does not have any sustainability, and in fact, I believe that the Portuguese magistrates - I have already said that in the Judiciary Studies Center and I say it now here in public - they should start being more careful and have a better preparation in what concerns the fundamental rights.
Voice Over: What is left to know is if the second book by Gonçalo Amaral is also going to be forbidden to circulate on the market.
Gonçalo Amaral: People asked if the book wouldn't be forbidden again, this book. Usually I tell them "let's see" - in terms of let's wait and see - but that would be the limit, really. To forbid a book that is exactly on that matter, on freedom of speech, on another book that was forbidden. I think it would be a redundancy.
* recurso de amparo has no adequate translation in English, therefore I'll quote a paragraph from 'A Justiça Constitucional nos 30 Anos da Cosntituição Portuguesa Portuguesa: Uma Aproximação Ibérica' by António de Araújo and J.A.Telles Pereira in an attempt to explain the meaning.
O recurso de amparo
Um dos traços distintivos da justiça constitucional portuguesa, comparativamente a
outras jurisdições constitucionais, designadamente à espanhola, consiste na inexistência de um tipo de recurso passível de ser qualificado como de “amparo” ou de “queixa constitucional” (o recurso de amparo ou o Verfassungsbeschwerde previstos, respectivamente, nos sistemas espanhol e alemão). Referimo-nos, a propósito de amparo, ao estabelecimento de uma forma processual (recurso ou acção) especificamente destinada à protecção dos direitos fundamentais, com vista a obter um juízo de constitucionalidade relativamente à actuação de titulares do poder político, da Administração ou do poder judicial. Concretamente aquilo que a Constituição espanhola prevê no seu artigo 53º, nº 223 e que a Ley Orgánica Del Tribunal Constituciona 24 regula no seu Titulo III (artigos 41º a 58º).
The recurso de amparo
A distinctive feature of the Portuguese constitutional justice, compared to other constitutional jurisdictions, particularly in relation to the Spanish one, consists in the absence of one type of resource that can be described as "assistance" or "constitutional complaint procedure" (the resource to complaint or Verfassungsbeschwerde, foreseen respectively, in the Spanish and German systems). We refer, on the purpose of assistance, to the establishment of a procedural form (resource or action) specifically destined for the protection of fundamental rights in order to obtain an assessment of the constitutionality in relation to the conduct of the holders of the political power, of the Administration or of the judicial power. Specifically what the Spanish Constitution provides in its Articleº 53, nº223 and to what the Ley Orgánica del Tribunal Constitucional 24 establishes in its III Title (Articles 41º to 58º).