From Joanna Morais's blog.
“Political Influence demands an Inquiry”
Gonçalo Amaral, the former coordinator of the investigation to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Praia da Luz, on the night of May 3, 2007, is not surprised with the Wikileaks disclosure of the cable sent by the US ambassador in Portugal, Alfred Hoffman Jr, to Washington.
by Paulo Marcelino / J.F. / R.R. with agencies
In that letter, of September 28, 2007, the diplomat reported on a conversation with his UK counterpart, Alexander W. Ellis, in which the latter said that the “British police had obtained evidence against the McCann couple”. The former coordinator of the Judiciary Police admits that he felt “political pressures during the investigation” and is now asking for the creation of a commission of inquiry in the Portuguese Republic Assembly, alleging that political interference in a criminal investigation undermines the Rule of Law.
“There was political influence as to the direction of the investigation and in the process archival,” said Gonçalo Amaral to the CM. The former coordinator of the investigation - removed from it at its final stage - further adds: “Before the passivity, and almost complicity of the government [Portuguese] still in office, it is imperative, within the Portuguese Republic Assembly, the creation of a commission of inquiry, in order to investigate the influences and political manoeuvring which have led to the discontinuation of the investigation and to the process archival. At stake is the Rule of Law.”
As to the disclosure that it would have been the British police to have gathered evidence against the couple, Gerry and Kate McCann (the missing girl's parents), Amaral is peremptory: “They didn't gather any evidence”. The former coordinator acknowledges the good cooperation of the English police officers sent to the Algarve at the time, but adds that “whomever was in England had other ideas.”
And he gives examples: “The English police even held back the statement made by Katherine Gaspar [read here] about a potential paedophile [David Payne] in the group at holidays in Luz”. And he recalls that David ended up being questioned in England without the PJ's inspectors presence. It should also be remembered that the credit information requested by the Police never received a reply. And Amaral also says that “there are strong suspicions” that the FSS lab results in England were manipulated. And that they were well known at the date of the cable. The laboratory [in]conclusions devaluated the evidence that were found in the apartment and in the couple's car by the British dogs, specialized in sniffing blood and cadaver odour.
Scent of Death
They were first offered in May and then provided with some reservation back in August 2007, the dogs 'Eddie' and 'Keela' signalled the cadaver odour and found blood traces in the apartment from where Maddie disappeared and inside the trunk of the car rented by the McCanns.
Abduction without Proof
Gonçalo Amaral says that there is no evidence of abduction in the process other than statements of Jane Tanner, who was on holiday with the McCanns in Praia da Luz. “She recognized several people as the perpetrators of the abduction and she lied blatantly,” said the former PJ coordinator.
“I Felt Pressured”: Gonçalo Amaral, former coordinator of the Portuguese Judiciary Police
Correio da Manhã – Did you feel political pressures during the investigation?
Gonçalo Amaral – I did, yes. I was confronted, by way of the national PJ directory, with a question that coincided with the thought of the Attorney General's Office, at the time, that not all processes have a conclusion.
- How do you explain the political interference?
– The initiative started by the McCann couple, trough their family contacts, in order to defend themselves.
– Does the cable disclosure surprise you?
– No. I only hope that the Portuguese Justice hears both ambassadors. They are potential witnesses.
Couple creates a new investigation team
A new team of investigators hired by the McCann couple and constituted by Portuguese and English elements, headed by a former UK cop is already in the Algarve according to TVI. The couple alleges to be interested in reviewing the constant sightings that appear in the process. But Gonçalo Amaral dismisses them: “These parents aren't searching for their daughter. They only care about their own image.” And he argues that, otherwise they would ask for the reopening of the process, as he himself defends. “Just a letter. They would only and solely have to pay for the stamp price,” ironizes the former coordinator of the investigation.
[Note the article continues with more information related to the WikiLeaks releases, something that is being covered in the world media, that has nothing to do with the case at hand, therefore I've chosen to translate as a second part the opinion article written and also published today by Correio da Manhã's assistant director, Eduardo Dâmaso]
Back to the Maddie Case
by Eduardo Dâmaso
What is the worth of the WikiLeaks disclosure on the Maddie case? It is truly worthy. Firstly, in the foreground, it shows that British police was convinced of the credibility of the evidence that involved the parents in the disappearance. And then, that the matter was the subject of conversation, at State level, between the English and the US diplomacies.
That is, for some reasons which persist to be yet clarified and that may be related to some work by Gerry McCann to the British government, the issue had a clear political dimension. It was a dossier managed with all the political cautions, as it is understood by the reference of “secrecy” that the matter demanded from the British.
Today, one can also realize that it was none the credibility of the information provided by the U.S. to the request of the investigation regarding the images collected by an U.S. satellite positioned to the south of Portugal and North Africa. At the time, the Americans confirmed the positioning of the satellite, but said that on the night of the disappearance it was directed to Africa, and therefore, it could not have seen a man carrying a child, which latter was said by a witness to be Maddie's father.
If the McCanns truly wished to reopen the case, now it would be a good time. But is it that really their convenience, in face of the facts? It doesn't seem to be...
in Correio da Manhã article and Opinion
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