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Torture at the PJ in court this week - Jornal de Notícias

Three inspectors from the Polícia Judiciária go on trial the day after tomorrow, at the Court of Boa Hora, in Lisbon, over the crimes of torture and other cruel, degrading or inhuman treatment.

The Lawyers’ Order – similarly to the case of Leonor Cipriano – which takes place in the Court of Faro – has also constituted itself as an assistant in this process.

António Manuel Alves da Cunha, José Sanchez Diamantino dos Santos and Vítor Manuel Tavares de Almeida are the arguidos in this process, the facts having taken place in the year of 2000, according to the accusation.

At that moment in time, the victim, Virgolino Borges, accused five inspectors – it was only possible to discover the identity of three of them – of torturing him during an interrogation to make him confess to a robbery.

According to the accusation dispatch, the rail worker from Sintra was summoned to the Judiciária’s offices in Lisbon on the 2nd of March 2000, as a witness to a theft that had taken place in his work place, the CP [Portuguese railway company]. During the questioning and after having been made an arguido, Virgolino says that he “suffered a slap on his face”, was “handcuffed with his hands behind his back, forced to remain standing, and hit with a fist several times, namely in the stomach, kidneys and ribs area”.

Further according to the accusation, the arguidos ordered the victim to take off his shoes, and Virgolino suffered “several blows with a latten against his feet until it broke”. He was “also kicked when he fell on the floor”. According to the document, Virgolino “passed through and lived during that interrogation – which took place between 7 p.m. and 2 a.m. -, hours of terror”.

The victim was then led to the PJ’s prison “and his entry file registered that he presented signs of aggression”. He was observed by a nurse who mentioned in his report that the rail worker “refers to pain in his back and to his abdomen and chest, and presents some scratches and bruises, which according to the inmate were caused at the Polícia Judiciária through aggression”.

Virgolino was presented to a first interrogation on the 3rd of March, at around 7.15 p.m., and the diligence ended at 8 p.m. He remained in liberty under the obligation of stating his identity and residence. He didn’t tell the judge anything about the assault “because he feared reprisals”. He was assisted at Amadora-Sintra Hospital on the night of that same day.

source: Jornal de Notícias, 10.11.2008


Adding an article dated October 10, 2007, which I think helps to put the above news into context - thank you, Debk, for finding this one:

Maddie: complaints place investigation at risk

A process that had been archived for seven years resuscitates and may set another investigator apart

The president of the Union of the PJ’s Criminal Investigation Workers has considered today that in a near future, there is a risk that there won’t be enough inspectors to solve the police cases, due to constant complaints against agents, LUSA writes.

“There is the risk, with the fobia that exists these days of complaining against policemen, either about aggressions or about disobedience, of one day there not being enough elements in the Police to work on the cases”, the president of ASFIC (Portuguese Union of Criminal Investigation Workers), Carlos Anjos, said, alluding to investigator Tavares de Almeida, in a case that he classes as “surreal”, because it reappears after seven years.

Tavares de Almeida, a direct investigator in the Madeleine McCann case, was accused on Friday over the crime of torture to extort a deposition in a case that is related to an alleged theft that was carried out by an employee of CP [Portuguese rail company] in Rio de Mouro, Sintra, while he was in the Central Directory of Banditism Combat (DCCB) [heavy crime unit within the PJ], and which had been archived by the Public Ministry (PM).

The investigator, who recently requested an unpaid leave from his functions at the Judiciária, appealed the judicial decision.

The president of ASFIC stated that for every person there is the principle of presumption of innocence, but he considers that within certain contexts, “it seems that there is none for the Police”, stressing that Tavares de Almeida mustn’t be condemned in the public square.

“This is a situation from seven years ago, when he was” fighting “assaults with fire weapons, which are crimes of brutal violence. The process was archived by the Public Ministry, seven years later it’s resuscitated”, Carlos Anjos remarks.

The Judiciária inspector underlines that the behaviour of those involved in the process was never censored by the PM, neither during the investigation nor during the instruction phase, and recalls that he was the target of a process over offences himself, when he was accused of assaulting a person in the police quarters “when in reality I was on vacation”.

When questioned about whether Tavares de Almeida should have abandoned the Madeleine case for being involved in another process, Carlos Anjos says no and reminds us that the instruction debate took place only last Friday and that the case had been archived by the PM.

“The plaintiff in the case was not satisfied with the PM’s decision and requested the instruction of the process”, Carlos Anjos informed, referring that the instruction judge understood, within her “legitimate right”, that there was enough matter to take the three colleagues to trial – two over torture to extort a deposition and one because he saw the event and didn’t intervene.

source: IOL Portugal Diário, 10.10.2007


  1. Esta historia não tem nada que vêr com o caso Joana ou com o caso Madeleine. O unico dado interessante, se assim de pode falar, é o facto de a Ordem dos Advogados se têr igualmente constituido assistente como o fez, pela primeira vez, no caso das agressões a Leonor Cipriano. No caso de Leonor é obvio o porquê... sendo a Ordem assistente, isso evita ao bastonario de têr de se explicar a respeito das fotografias, não ?!!
    Talvez o facto de a Ordem se constituir assistente neste segundo caso sirva apenas para melhor justificar a primeira.

  2. Still unable to purchase Amarals book here in the Uk.

    Hope this will be resolved shortly and we are able to purchase an English edition.

  3. Annother Inspector related with Madeleine investigation, Tavares de Almeida. They need to close the mouth of all the inspectors which know what happen to Madeleine.And, of course, Marinho Pinto turn's up again as an assistent just to justify his previous involvement in Leonor cipriano case. Poor litle girl which still neglected after her disapearence, now by powerfull people which avoid her geting justice.

  4. This only comes to reinforce the urgent need to update the P.J., bring it into the 21st century, HAVE CCTV INSIDE ALL P.J.OFFICES, have audio and video records of all procedures with witnesses and suspects. We all now that policemen are not angels, even Moita Flores has said so, in the heat of events, they can loose their grip, and violence can occur, if any ordinary parent sometimes "looses it" with their children's tantrums, it is understandable that it can happen with officers when facing the lowest of the low of society, only God knows what they go through on a daily bases, with the discouraging knowledge that their work is many times send to waste by our penal code and our judges.
    The Mccann spider surelly casts its web a long, long way, digging up cases of 7 years ago, they'll resort to anything that will help to bury the P.J. then feet under...


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