Gonçalo Amaral Interview in Fafe
At the time of the presentation of his new book «The English Gag» at Fafe's Library, video via Correio TV
Reporter: Sir, you have been out from the PJ almost for two years now; after a very complicated process, and from where many answers are still missing to which you have tried to answer in the book that was censored. This «English gag» is it not somehow a gag to the freedom of speech in Portugal?
Gonçalo Amaral: There is no doubt about that, actually it was on that notion that the book was written. It was in terms of defence, and of denouncing this limitation of the freedom of expression of a citizen, my case, and as well the right of the reader, of the Portuguese citizen, of any person in this country in formulating opinions, their own opinion in face of what they read. Therefore, it is not allowed… It is forbidden, it is limiting the freedom of the Portuguese people, of the people who are interested in reading the book ‘Maddie, The Truth of the Lie’, and of them being able to formulate their opinion. Which is the right of freedom to opinion, which in this country seems - seems, no - is in fact, being temporarily limited, as established by the injunction, and could be so from here now into the future.
Reporter: At this moment where freedom of expression and the lack of it is being so much discussed, where political pressures are being discussed as a daily basis; in the moment where we can recall the historical relation between Portugal and England, our eternal ally, was there really so much weight applied by England in this process, capable of gagging the Portuguese politicians to the point of forcing a PJ Inspector to withdraw himself from the Judiciary Police, to the point of forcing into silence the whole process?
Gonçalo Amaral: I have no doubts regarding that; in reality, the facts speak for themselves. A public servant, like me, a coordinator of the Judiciary Police, it is something that some politicians are able to discard, to avoid a diplomatic drama, a diplomatic incident, and everything was done surrounding that. Like now, there is a direct attack to the Judiciary Police, again, on this process, an attack targeting a Judiciary Police employee, and the Judiciary Police does not do anything in his defence nor does the Justice Ministry. I did not say that there [on the book presentation] but I'll say it here, it is shameful. How is it possible to leave those who work for the public interest, those who work for the discovery of the truth and for the making of Justice, abandoned to these attacks?
Reporter: I know that you are under secrecy of justice, but for you the truth…
Gonçalo Amaral: Not of secrecy of justice, I am a target of a temporary injunction, which limits my freedom of expression.
Reporter:…But for you the truth is revealed and transcribed in that book, that today cannot be sold?
Gonçalo Amaral: I can’t answer to that question, because I am a target of an injunction which forbids me to speak about… to give you an answer. It’s under the scope of the injunction.
Reporter: How is it, looking at the situation that happened and for the eventual future situations that might be somewhat similar, how do you see the role of Portugal in this affair, that is, do we get fragilized, do we become dependent of foreign opinions, of foreign police opinions which may place in question an institution like the Judiciary Police, which is seen with the utmost seriousness?
Gonçalo Amaral: The Judiciary Police continues to be seen with seriousness, the opinions, or the forces contrary to the discovery of the material truth had in this case, and will have in others, or maybe they already had in other cases, a strong influence when placing in question the Justice system itself. What is happening is a result of the frailties, as a friend of mine said, an appeal court judge, it is the frailty inherent to democracy. It is that that is in question; we don’t live alone, the country is not isolated, it is in the European Union, it has its allies and its international agreements, and its international diplomacy and something has being left behind, which in this case was Justice.
Reporter: Do you feel discarded?
Gonçalo Amaral: Discarded, no. It was my choice to leave the Judiciary Police in order to regain the plenitude of my freedom of expression, something which is now again placed in question. It was my choice, my decision, and I’m certain that if I had stayed in the PJ I would have ascended to superior positions, other than being a mere coordinator of sections… Allow me to remember here at this moment a colleague, who has passed away last night, Dr. Guilhermino da Encarnação, a person that climbed the Judiciary Police hierarchy by his own merit, and with those two cases, the so-called Joana Case and the Maddie Case. Who, at that time, saw a disease appear, a disease that lead to his death, after all of this time. He was an exceptional man, a person with whom I had the honour, the pleasure and the privilege to work with, with whom I have learned immensely, and that with these cases saw his health disappear. It is sad; people sometimes are not discarded but often are…There are things that happen to one’s health which are unstoppable.
Reporter: A last question, in the said book of which you are forbidden to speak about, which was censored, your convictions are obvious, are evident, are clear. If you had remained in the case, if you hadn’t been removed from it, and after retiring from the PJ; if you had stayed would you have felt comfortable to arrive at something which you had already the absolute certainty of being like that, knowing that from the other side there were so many doubts being placed? [the question is difficult to translate since the reporter is clearly trying to make a question using subterfuges because of the injunction]
Gonçalo Amaral: Look, in an investigation… I cannot speak about the case, I’m forbidden. A criminal investigation has a beginning, a middle and an end. That book, and that I can tell you, was the narrative of the 6 months of the criminal investigation, when I was coordinating it. What could have happened since then, we don’t know. I left the investigation, the investigation continued, remained open for more six months and its result was a premature archival. If the investigation had continued, and there are many diligences to be made, hundreds to be carried out - the process was not concluded with all the diligences - it could have even happened that which was said at a medium term, at that time, would not be established or it could have been confirmed. Therefore a criminal investigation always has to reach its end, so no ambiguities remain, speculations don’t thrive like it is happening at this moment, and also in order to not give material to certain conspiracy theories to flourish. I believe that that is the biggest problem of the investigations that do not reach an ending.