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Moita Flores in 'Semanário': It is too early to evaluate what failed

Excerpt from an interview with Francisco Moita Flores, author, criminologist and former member of the PJ, in ‘Semanário’ today:

How do you read the process of the removal of Gonçalo Amaral Dias?

Gonçalo Amaral is a great policeman who did an excellent job and one day couldn’t take the pressure anymore and said some unpleasant things to the English. He shouldn’t have said it but the world was not damaged because of him saying it, either. The truth is that he understood where the investigation was being stalled, and well fed up of being insulted, maltreated without a single voice to defend him. In fact, he should have remained silent but it is also true that a man is not made of iron.

Can we say that, together with the novella of little Madeleine and the removal of the coordinator of the Criminal Investigation Department in Portimão, we’re looking at another case of Portuguese submission to the “perfid Albion”?

I don’t know. It will take somewhat longer until we manage to understand how far this mess has reached.

Do you maintain your conviction that Madeleine McCann was killed in Aldeia da Luz?

I do. There are no material conditions to opt for another solution. The mystery lies with one or two of the ten or twelve elements that used to enter that apartment.
I possess little data apart from knowing the location and the positions of each one of the persons that intervened. It is impossible for an abduction to take place under those circumstances. Only as an academical hypothesis.

In your opinion, do you think that the PJ’s image was affected by this case? Can the Portuguese [people] believe in the Police that we have?

There will be some damage to the PJ’s image that the criminal turbulence itself and the succession of solved crimes will dissolve. This, if it is confirmed that there is no indicia and the process is archived. And of course the Portuguese can believe in their police. It has a history of prestige and their level of effectiveness is one of the highest within Europe. It is not by one unsolved crime, among hundreds of thousands that are solved, that the capacity of the PJ can be evaluated.

Within this process, which was often surrounded by obscure outlines, what do you think has failed?

Let’s see when the process becomes public. It is too early to make that evaluation.

Was the archiving of the process foreseeable?

I don’t know whether the process is going to be archived.

What illations can be taken out of this case, in order for another process not to suffer the same outcome?

I don’t know what the outcome is going to be but every case is a case. There are no formulas or rules. That is why criminal investigation is a set of methods and not a science.

In what aspect did the media influence the course of the investigation into the case of Maddie’s disappearance?

The negative aspects are related to the natural pressure on the investigation. The PJ wants evidence, the journalists want news. Those are different things. But the publicizing of the problem was positive because it caught the attention of so many people about children’s rights, about the duties of protection towards the minors.

What measures should be taken to diminish the abductions of children and adolescents?

Abductions are hard to predict and to prevent. The only way to avoid them, or at least to reduce the possibility, is to watch the children directly.

Do you consider Portugal to be a safe country?

It’s the safest country within the European Union.

source: Semanário, 12.07.2008

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