Sandra Felgueiras interviews Gonçalo Amaral and Isabel Duarte
«I don’t know what goes on in Portimão, but I can tell you that the issue of the reopening of the process, that is approached by the McCann couple, is a lie, because they did everything to archive the process (...)» Gonçalo Amaral
Anchor: "The court has just decided that Gonçalo Amaral’s book is not going to be put on sale, thus accepting the injunction that was requested by the McCann couple, which suspended the book and the documentary on the same subject that was broadcast by TVI. Last week, the former Polícia Judiciária inspector had defended the reopening of the process into the child’s disappearance, saying that hundreds of diligences had not been carried out.
This morning, entering the session, Gonçalo Amaral showed he was confident.
But at this time, Sandra Felgueiras, good afternoon, and facing the court’s decision, this confidence has collapsed."
Sandra Felgueiras: “It collapses, but Gonçalo Amaral left the court building saying that he will appeal the decision, until wherever necessary.
But Gonçalo Amaral is already here with me, and at this moment, I would like to ask you [Gonçalo Amaral] if, with your expectations collapsing, you feel that you are a censored man in Portugal.”
Gonçalo Amaral: “That is a fact. But expectations… this was one decision among the various possible decisions. Therefore, we were always prepared for this kind of decision, and the next step is an appeal.”
SF: “What do you think happened to the contribution that was given, in court session, by your former colleagues from the Judiciária, who came here to reaffirm the thesis that you continue to be forbidden from repeating? Why wasn’t it validated by the magistrate?”
GA: “I started to perceive… I trust justice very much, and I started to perceive that very often, what happens during trial hearings does not reflect itself on the sentences that are known. Therefore… this is the Portuguese justice system in operation.”
SF: “But does it discredit Portuguese justice, at the moment? Do you believe that this decision puts the possibility of taking forward, and of writing what one believes is right, at stake?”
GA: “Exactly. This is a very dangerous decision, a decision that from now on can put any other book at stake. It puts at stake the possibility of the Portuguese people learning about facts, of accessing certain opinions, and of the reader, the Portuguese citizen, himself, forming his own opinion from what he reads and from what he sees. It looks like from now on, the Portuguese people are sheep, and the rest doesn’t matter anymore. Certain formed opinions matter, from those who sometimes make public opinion, or who sell it on the market.”
SF: “The Truth of the Lie thus remains forbidden on the market, Gonçalo Amaral remains forbidden from repeating the thesis; you have already told me that you will appeal to wherever necessary. Can you tell precisely for how long you are available to continue this fight?”
GA: “Until we reach the European Court of Human Rights. There, we have no doubts. And if that is where we have to go, we will get there. But now we are in the appeal phase, so I’m going to the second instance, and we shall see what the decision is.”
SF: “Nevertheless, with this decision, don’t you think that your pretension starts to lose some credibility in the country, even more so as last week you said you wanted to reopen the process, but at the same time the McCann couple presented, as they said, evidence that your colleagues in Faro, or in Portimão, to be more correct, have not been properly investigating the search for the child.”
GA: “You are asking two completely different questions. I don’t know what goes on in Portimão, but I can tell you that the issue of the reopening of the process, that is approached by the McCann couple, is a lie, because they did everything to archive the process, so one doesn’t understand why the reopening of the process.
And then that is how it is: as you know, in the archiving dispatch from the Public Ministry, several possibilities are mentioned. In order to reopen the process, all of those possibilities have to be investigated. And that is certainly not what the couple wants, that all possibilities are investigated.
Concerning the other part, that not all leads are investigated, what always arrived at the police, and what is most likely to be arriving at this moment, are leads of sightings, I presume that they are of that kind, because I heard the McCanns’ lawyer mentioning fifty similar or resembling children. I would say that there are many children like that one in the world.”
SF: “Do you really believe that you did everything in your power to search for Madeleine McCann alive?”
GA: “I have no doubts whatsoever about that. That work is reflected in the book, The Truth of the Lie, and that is why the book was written, and there is no criticism concerning the work that was done, after the book was published.”
SF: “Thank you. Such is the conviction of Gonçalo Amaral, and I’m now going to risk performing a somewhat complicated manoeuvre, even more so because there is a cable here, Pedro. Anyway, it is also important at this point in time to hear the opinion of the McCann couple’s lawyer. The McCann couple is not in Portugal, this time, although they attended the previous hearings, both in December and in January. This time they chose not to come to Portugal, to hear the final sentence. Anyway, Isabel Duarte has already read to us the message that she received from Kate Healy, right after communicating to her that the decision had been favourable. And that message, Isabel Duarte, live for RTPN, I would ask you to tell us what the reaction was, from the McCann couple, about this, let’s call it victory.”
Isabel Duarte: “I sent a message to my client, Kate - my client [Gerry] is working right now - and she replied to me that, apart from thanking everyone that had supported her, and asking me to do so, this decision was the reopening of conditions to restart searching for her daughter with efficacy and success. It would be something good for Madeleine.”
SF: “During this trial, we revived the memory of the death thesis, that you came here to silence, with several inspectors repeating that they believe that the child is dead. Now that you have this decision, do you think that the Portuguese public opinion is now in a position to forget about that part of the story, to forget that there was a period during which the Polícia Judiciária actually believed that the child is dead?”
ID: “What happened during this trial was that the only people who defended that thesis in reports in the process that is archived in Portimão, were brought here. No people who did not defend that thesis, namely the inspectors that undersigned the last report, which prompted the archiving of the process, were brought to this trial. As a matter of fact, the judge mentions exactly that, and clarified that she read the full Portimão inquiry before uttering this decision.”
SF: “And wat was the conclusion, what was the argument that the magistrate offered to justify maintaining this injunction?”
ID: “It’s the same arguments, in more depth, of the first injunction, that is to say, that this book… She weighed the rights that are in confrontation here, that is to say, the right to freedom of expression, and the right of people to be treated with dignity and to be respected, and from that weight, from that evaluation, the judge understood that this book could not remain on the market because it violated rights that are more important than that of freedom of expression.”
SF: “Concerning the main process, and your will, and the McCann couple’s will to reopen that process, what phase is it in, at the moment?”
ID: “In our office, we are analysing all of the documents that came from the Algarve, selecting those that seem to be important to us and that which is secondary, or absolutely necessary, so I can meet with my colleagues and with my clients, and all of us make a decision concerning the reopening of the process, which they have manifested, over the last few days, that they want to do, after finding out that there are several elements in the Portimão process that they did not know about.”
SF: “Thank you. Thus ends this trial, this saga, another saga in the Madeleine McCann process. Gonçalo Amaral’s book, The Truth of the Lie, is definitely, or at least, at this moment, forbidden, it remains forbidden. Gonçalo Amaral is prevented from repeating the thesis that he defended and sustained in the book, which is to say, the thesis that he fed during the period that he coordinated the investigation, that is to say, believing that the child is dead and that the couple is behind the concealment of the cadaver.
The magistrate, Maria Gabriela Cunha Rodrigues, agreed with the couple’s pretension and sustained, in today’s decision, that the right to a good name prevails and that therefore this book cannot remain on the market. It hasn’t been on the market since September, now we know that it will remain like that.
Nonetheless, Gonçalo Amaral continues saying that he will appeal until wherever necessary, even up to the European Court of Human Rights.”
in: RTPN, 18.02.2010