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Amnesty International's blunder over the murder of Joana Cipriano

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Amnesty International's blunder over the murder of Joana Cipriano

Post by Tony Bennett on 04.09.12 18:52

Amnesty International is a highly respected organisation which does a huge amount of good work in combating political repression and injustice, especially wrongful imprisonment.

But in the case of the murder of 8-year-old Joana Cipriano in Portugal in 2004, they appear to have made a significant blunder.

Their 'Report on Portugal – 2012', viewable here...

http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/portugal/report-2012

...pronounces that...

In March, the Court of Appeal of Evora confirmed an earlier ruling that Leonor Cipriano had been tortured while in police custody in 2004, but that it could not identify those responsible. Leonor Cipriano had yet to receive compensation from the state. Gonçalo de Sousa Amaral and António Fernandes Nuno Cardoso, senior officials in the judicial police, had been sentenced to 18 months’ and 27 months’ imprisonment respectively, for falsely claiming Leonor Cipriano had fallen down the stairs. However, both sentences were suspended on the grounds that the officers had no previous criminal convictions.


What Amnesty International has done is simply to lift this brief press report and use it to slate five PJ officers.

What they have not done is to provide any context whatsoever.

They should, for example, have referred readers of their report to this Wikipedia entry, quote:

The murder of Joana Cipriano

Joana Cipriano was an eight-year-old Portuguese girl who disappeared from the village of Figueira, near Portimao, in the Algarve, on 12 September 2004. After criminal investigation, she was later assumed to have been murdered, though her body was never found.

Investigation


The investigation by the Policia Judiciara ended with the conviction for murder of Leonor and João Cipriano, Joana's mother and uncle [who were each sentenced to 16 years in jail] The prosecution claimed that Joana was killed because she saw her mother and João Cipriano, her mother's brother, having incestuous sex, in accordance with the testimony of the stepfather of Leandro Silva, the common-law husband of Leonor Cipriano.

Leonor Cipriano confessed to killing her daughter. Her uncle [João] confessed to having beaten her up, after which she stood “quiet on the floor”. He said he cut his niece's body in small pieces, put her in a fridge box, then put her inside an old car that was taken to Spain to be crushed and burned. When he was asked if he had sexually abused his niece, he said in the presence of his lawyer: “I did not harm her, I only killed her”.


Had Amnesty International bothered to do any research on the case, they would have soon realised that Leonor Cipriano is a complete stranger to the truth, and that she and her equally wicked brother were justly convicted of murder and sentenced accordingly. Leaving Leonor Cipriano aside for one moment, their convictions were based, at least in part, on the voluntary, full and detailed confession of João Cipriano.

They might then have gone on to look at the possibility of judicoal corruption in the criminal trial of Dr Goncalo Amaral and the appeal court at Evora, especially at a time when TWO recent reports have surfaced highlighting the huge extent of corruption in Portugal.

The Wikipedia entry, by the way, is also notable for one other reason; the (self-styled) great criminologist Mark Williams-Thomas is reported as thinking that the killing of Joana Cipriano is somehow, however vaguely, 'linked' to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Well, I can certainly think of two 'links'.

First, both mothers reported their daughters missing.

Second, the senior detective in each case, Dr Goncalo Amaral, pulled both mothers in for questioning - and made both 'arguidas'.

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Re: Amnesty International's blunder over the murder of Joana Cipriano

Post by russiandoll on 04.09.12 22:26

Does anyone here know what is the evidence for and/or against the falling down the stairs being a fabrication or not? I have read about this but only in one forum or another. Is there anywhere trustworthy to read about established facts such as in the quality Portuguese press?

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Re: Amnesty International's blunder over the murder of Joana Cipriano

Post by PeterMac on 04.09.12 22:34

I was a member of Amnesty for quite a long time, but eventually their selective use of evidence, and their almost 'religious' and outright refusal to acknowledge that anyone could be guilty of heinous crimes,. terrorism, treason, or anything else, and deserving of appropriate punishment led me to leave.

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What really happened to Leonor Cipriano at the police station?

Post by Tony Bennett on 04.09.12 22:53

@russiandoll wrote: Does anyone here know what is the evidence for and/or against the falling down the stairs being a fabrication or not? I have read about this but only in one forum or another. Is there anywhere trustworthy to read about established facts such as in the quality Portuguese press?
russiandoll, that's a good question.

It's very hard to answer for an Englishman who doesn't know Portuguese trying to piece together information from the internet.

I have tried, over the years, to gain as full an understanding as possible of the sequence of events here. In a moment, I'll post below a rough transcription of a TV debate in Portugal which may take you a bit further. If you really want to pursue this, I have a great deal of material on all aspects of Leonor Cipriano.

The extent to which the British press has collaborated in presenting this callous murderess as an innocent saint who was forced by torturing Portuguese police officers to confess is indeed both fascinating and disturbing. And you'll know of course that on the McCann-believer side of the internet debate, Cipriano is presented as a Joan of Arc-like heroine battling against cruel torturers who unjustly convicted her and are denying her the right to look for her child whom she still, even now, claims is 'still missing'.

Yeah - right!

Some points to bear in mind when considering anything to do with Leonor Cipriano:

1. She is a convicted murderess of her own child

2. She is a serial liar (I have an article documenting all her lies which I may publish here later)

3. The Head of Odemira Prison appears to have co-operated in an attempt to frame innocent police officers, and of course it mustn't be forgotten that she also co-operated with strange lawyer Marcos Aragao Correia on 8 April 2008 to introduce him to hr prisoner Leonor Cipriano - a matter touched on in the transcript below.

You will have to be patient to unravel what really happened to Cipriano at the police station, but hopefully this transcript will be a start:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Leonor Cipriano Case - Early Days

pm on Thu Jun 04, 2009 6:37 am

Excerpt from a debate on RTP – ‘Pros & Contras’ – last Monday evening, about the current state of the Portuguese Lawyers’ Order. On one side, the current Head of the Order, António Marinho Pinto, accompanied by the President of the District Counsel of Madeira, Fernando Campos, and of the Azores, Eduardo Vieira. On the opposite side, the President of the District Counsel of Lisbon and lawyer to the McCanns, Carlos Pinto de Abreu, the President of the District Counsel of Faro and lawyer to Gonçalo Amaral, António Cabrita, and former Head of the Order and also lawyer to the McCanns, Rogério Alves. The Joana case is subject to discussion, at some point during the debate.


"(3:04) Carlos Pinto de Abreu: “So much is said about the Joana case. The Joana case led Dr António Marinho Pinto to put a few photos in Expresso [newspaper]. But he did nothing more. Except now, a long time after, to nominate a lawyer to be an assistant in the Order’s name. This means that he doesn’t trust the lawyers who have been assigned – because there have been lawyers assigned, on behalf of the victims and on behalf of the arguidos, and so he didn’t trust those lawyers. He didn’t even trust lawyers in the Algarve. Dr Marinho Pinto didn’t present any kind of solution. Contrary to what Dr Marinho Pinto did, which was to publish a photo in the Expresso newspaper, I, for example, wrote a letter to the Attorney General, asking for no criminal police force to investigate that case, precisely to prevent that the Polícia Judiciária, the GNR or the PSP would investigate it, but rather the Public Ministry’s magistrates themselves. These are concrete solutions. Dr Marinho Pinto didn’t propose, in legislative terms, any change to the Penal Process Code to prevent this from happening, either. Apart from filing a complaint with the Public Ministry’s Superior Counsel and another one with the Magistrates’ Superior Counsel, concerning this matter, and I did that nominally, I have also proposed to the committee for the penal reform, and this was accepted, that all interrogations of arguidos have to be made in the presence of their lawyer.

(4:55) António Marinho Pinto: May I just say the following. When you say ‘put a few photos in Expresso’, what I did, as a journalist, which I was at that time, and worked for Expresso, I made a report about a case of torture at a criminal police force. And it took me, and I wish to publicly congratulate Expresso, because the work that I did, took four months. Four months. I went to the Algarve and to Odemira four times. I spoke with people at the prisons, I spoke with medics, I spoke with lawyers, I spoke with countless people, until I discovered the piece of evidence which were the photographs that I knew existed. And I published the article in Expresso. It was that, more than 30 thousand letters one could write, secretly, to the entities, it was that which made justice move forward. That was what made justice move."


Taking advantage of this introduction, I propose a closer look at the early days of the so-called ‘Leonor Cipriano case’, which is largely a separate story from the ‘Joana case’.

On the 12th of September 2004, Joana Cipriano Guerreiro, aged 8, disappears from the village of Figueira, near Portimão. The disappearance takes place at around 8.30 p.m., after the girl left her home to buy milk and canned tuna. For days, her mother, Leonor Cipriano, makes appeals on television, stating that her daughter was abducted.

On the 21st of September, Leonor Cipriano is taken away for questioning by the PJ of Portimão. It is already suspected that Joana was murdered. Then, on the 25th of September, Leonor Cipriano is placed under preventive custody at the prison of Odemira, under special security measures, after confessing to the accidental death and concealment of Joana’s cadaver. Two days later, the Court orders preventive custody for her brother João Cipriano, co-author of the crime.

On Monday, the 27th of September, Leonor Cipriano accuses the PJ inspectors of physically assaulting her to force her to confess to the crime. After simulating intense abdominal pain, while under questioning at the PJ in Faro, and screaming that she was hit in the belly to force her to confess, the inspectors take her to Faro Hospital, where her entry is registered at 8.25 p.m. At the hospital, the spots of blood that Leonor had left on a chair at the PJ, and which she stated were the result of physical aggression by police officers, were unmasked as menstrual bleeding.


During the night of the 14th to the 15th of October, Leonor is questioned overnight, at the PJ building in Faro. No lawyer is present, allegedly because this is an ‘informal questioning’, according to the police officers. In the early morning of October 15, she is taken by the PJ agents themselves to the Health Centre in Odemira, with bruises on her face and body.

On the 7th of January 2005, the Public Ministry opens an inquiry to investigate the alleged aggressions from PJ agents against Leonor Cipriano.

On the 26th of February, weekly newspaper Expresso publishes an article titled ‘Questions without answer’, by journalist António Marinho Pinto, presently the head of the Portuguese Lawyers’ Order. On the front page of the newspaper, the photograph of Leonor’s face, covered with bruises. On the same day, Santos Cabral, then National Director of the Polícia Judiciária, states, in a press release, that it was exclusively through an initiative of the PJ itself that the investigations into the alleged aggressions against Leonor Cipriano were jumpstarted.


Dr Marinho Pinto may well claim that he is the centre of the Universe; it remains a fact that the investigation into the alleged torture was not started by him, as it was well under way when he published his article in Expresso.

On the other hand, it remains unexplained, to this day, how the photographs came into his possession. By making the Lawyers' Order an assistant in the case of Leonor Cipriano - a move that was, and still is, subject to much criticism among lawyers - Dr Marinho Pinto rendered it impossible for him to be summoned onto the witness stand.

Coincidence - or coincidental facts?

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Re: Amnesty International's blunder over the murder of Joana Cipriano

Post by russiandoll on 04.09.12 22:57

Thank you very much for this information .

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Re: Amnesty International's blunder over the murder of Joana Cipriano

Post by Tony Bennett on 04.09.12 23:24

@russiandoll wrote: Thank you very much for this information.
Here's some more - some key points from Paulo Cristavao's book: 'A Estrela de Jaona' - The Star of Joana: [translation courtesy of 'astro']:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The story is about a team of three investigators from the PJ in Lisbon, who are called in to the Joana case almost a month after the child went missing. Joana was last seen at a small cafe in the village where she lived, Figueira, on the early evening of September 12, 2004. She was sent by her mother to buy some cans of tuna and a package of milk. She was repoted missing by her mother and her partner the next day, at the GNR station in Portimão.

When the three PJ members from Lisbon are called in, Joana's mother Leonor Cipriano and her uncle João Cipriano (Leonor's brother) are in preventive custody, suspected of killing Joana and of concealing her body. The three inspectors from Lisbon - Cristóvão, Marques Bom and Leonel - are brought in to help with their interrogations, as João Cipriano has confessed to killing his niece, and then has led the Faro inspectors on several wild goose chases, claiming to show them where the body is, but the PJ always return empty-handed.

The triad arrives in Faro and immediately meets Guilhermino da Encarnação, the director of PJ in the Algarve, and Gonçalo Amaral, who is leading the investigation into the Joana case.
They are visibly exhausted, and they welcome the help from Lisbon, as their personnel has hit a dead end, and have exhausted all their resources.

The interrogations begin almost immediately, and Cristóvão soon notices that João Cipriano, who seems to be a rather primitive character, is actually very smart in an uneducated way. He has developed defences over the many hours of tentative interrogations that were performed by PJ investigators before. So Cristóvão tries a different path, by apparently befriending João, and deliberately ignoring his attempts to lead him in yet another outing to supposedly show him where Joana's body has been hidden.

Leonor is also interrogated by Cristóvão. The picture of the Cipriano family starts to draw itself. The siblings - João has a twin sister - admit to having sexual intercourse with each other as if this was absolutely normal, Leonor has an array of children from different partners which include a teenage daughter who cannot even bear to hear her mother's name, they have never experienced a stable family environment, being utterly incapable of thinking about anyone else except themselves. Leonor lives with a man, Leandro, in a house in Figueira. There is one bedroom that is used by Leonor, Leandro and their 2 small children. The other room was shared by Joana and a male adult friend of Leandro, Carlos. Joana adored her mother, in spite of all the abuse she suffers at her mother's hands. Leonor often sends Joana at 3 or 4 a.m. to walk to a nearby cake factory, because Leonor likes to eat warm cakes. Joana draws cardboard hearts where she writes that she loves her mother.

Gradually, an even more sinister picture starts to emerge. The detectives soon discover that João has several different sex partners apart from his sisters. A more or less regular partner confides that she has to have sex with him even when she is suffering menstrual cramps, because she is terrified of what he would do to her if she refused. Leonor is also visibly afraid of João's temper, and she obeys him blindly. Once left alone in an interrogation room with João, the detectives overhear a conversation where João tells Leonor that they must now tell everyone that a mysterious Spanish man took Joana away.

During one of the interrogations, João, who has mood shifts, ends up confessing voluntarily to having beaten Joana, who hit a wall with her head and collapsed dead on the floor. He says he was having sex with Leonor while the girl had been out on her errand, but Joana returned and saw them. She said she would tell Leandro about what she saw. The child tried to run out of the house, but was dragged back in by João and Leonor. Leonor slapped her, and then João also slapped the girl. The child flew against a wall, bumped her head and dropped dead on the floor. He then cut up her body and stored it in plastic bags in the family's freezer. Cristóvão, the detective who is interrogating him, asks some specific questions about the process of cutting. João's answers chillingly detail the process, including correct information about the difficulty in separating certain joints. He also tells Cristóvão that all 4 adults - João, Leonor, Leandro and Carlos - ended up knowing that Joana was dead, as he and Leonor showed the bags in the freezer to Leandro and Carlos when they arrived home, later that evening. João later repeats his confession in the presence of his lawyer, and duly signs it.

The detectives return to Figueira, now with a forensics team, to check whether the information that João has given them yields some traces of evidence. Their discoveries turn out to be much more than they bargained for. They discover the orange flip-flops that Joana was supposedly wearing the evening she vanished. Then they turn the uv light to the wall where João told them the child had hit her head before collapsing dead on the floor.

Her face is clearly 'drawn' on the wall, also two small hands that left a trace that goes down the wall, showing Joana's last movement. They also discover the prints of her hands on the frame of the house's outer door, that were left there at the moment when she tried to escape. João had told Cristóvão how Joana had tried to cling to the door frame, and they had to pull her back in by her legs. Everything is photographed.

On the sofa where allegedly João was having sex with his sister, no traces of bodily fluids were found. But the forensics team detects blood residues on one of the sofa's feet. They also discover several traces of sperm on a bedcover that is on Joana's bed, as well as on the pillows and on the wall next to the bed. Everything is taken by the forensics team, to be tested in their lab.

Meanwhile, the investigators watch a video capture that was made by an amateur videographer who was filming a local festivity on the evening of September 12, the evening that Joana disappeared. Leandro, Leonor's partner, is coincidentally captured on tape. At that time, he is supposedly searching the area for Joana, as all four adults had stated earlier. But the camera films Leandro at the bar, having a beer. He is not searching for anyone. He has hid head hanging, his eyes focused on the ground, with a deeply sad demeanour about him.

Back in Faro, at the PJ's offices, detective Cristóvão confronts Leonor with what João has told them about the child's death. He omits the part of the body being dismembered. Leonor thinks her partner, Leandro, has denounced her to the police. She finally starts to cry and tells the detective that João cut the body up, and put the pieces inside bags, and into the freezer. Marques Bom takes Leonor away into another room, while Cristóvão writes down what happened. Leonor will have to repeat everything later, in the presence of a lawyer, to validate her confession. As Cristóvão is finishing his report, he hears a commotion outside. He finds Marques Bom and another detective, Antonio, on the floor of the staircase, with Leonor. Gonçalo Amaral also arrives to see what the noise is about. Marques Bom says Leonor asked to go to the toilet, so they stood outside the toilet's door and waited for her to come out. But she opened the door, raced past the detectives towards the stairwell and tried to jump off the railing. They managed to prevent her from jumping, but she then threw herself off the stairs.

Leonor is brought back to the prison.
During the night, Cristóvão receives a phone call informing that Leonor has a bump on her head that is swelling up, so two other detectives take her to a local medical centre. The doctor who examines her says the bump is not serious, but there is an internal blood spill and the woman should rest lying down, to prevent the blood from descending into the eye area. They take the woman back to prison. Later on, Leonor will be counselled by someone at the prison to press charges against the detectives, saying they beat her in order to extract a confession.

The picture that is later published in several newspapers shows blood around her eyes, but absolutely no trauma to the eye area. Leonor will also later fail to identify Marques Bom and Leonel at a line-up. She will identify Cristóvão, who was the element that spent most time interrogating her, but she will state formally that Cristóvão never hit her.

A few days later, Cristóvão receives a phone call from Teresa, the forensics team leader that went with the detectives to the house in Figueira. She has results from the tests: the blood that was found on the foot of the sofa, is from one of Leonor's children. But it is not from Joana, nor from the 2 small children that live in the house, and not from her teenage daughter, either. The blood comes from a descendant of Leonor, but none of the known children matches the DNA profile. The residues that were collected from Joana's bed and from the wall next to her bed don't give conclusive results. The blood sample that was detected in the freezer is human, but it is impossible to extract DNA from the sample.

Meanwhile, the detectives talk to a convict in another prison, who shared a cell with João when he was imprisoned years earlier for aggression. The convict had spoken to João about the crime that he had committed, the homicide of a man, and he had told him that his biggest mistake had been to tell the police where they could find the body of the man he had killed. This convict had taught João that nobody could be convicted without a corpse, and he had also taught João about the art of the Triangle. To kill in one location; to dump the body at another location; and finally to move into another location. On a map, these 3 locations form a triangle. The investigators remember that João had confessed to killing in Figueira. He had then gone to the junk yard that Leonor's partner Leonel operates. And finally, he had gone to his twin sister's house. This constituted a triangle.

The detectives bring João into the PJ's offices once again. Cristóvão sits in front of him, and draws a triangle on a sheet of paper. João smiles and completes the drawing with three names, one at each vertex of the triangle: Figueira, Junk yard and Casa Alta, the location where his twin sister lives. The investigators know they must go to the junkyard. They drive there with João. He tells them he placed the bags inside a red car that was going to be pressed and destroyed, but the car is not there anymore.

Later, an informant that wanted to remain anonymous tells the investigators that he saw Leandro and Carlos, on the day after Joana disappeared, driving their truck with an old red car on top of it. They went into the direction of Spain, and the informant thought it was odd because a Spanish foundry came to the junk yard regularly every month to pick up the cars for disposal. They had no apparent need to drive an old car into the Spanish foundry, as they could wait for the regular pick-up.
The detectives go into Spain and visit the foundry. The place is huge, and the detectives decide they need to go back to Faro and formally ask the Spanish authorities for help.

But when they arrive back in Faro, they are summoned to return to Lisbon immediately. They were taken off the case because Leonor has filed a complaint against them for assault.

On November 11, 2005, the Portimão court condemned Leonor Cipriano to a sentence of 20 years and 4 months in prison, and João Cipriano to 19 years and 2 months in prison, for qualified homicide and concealment of the body of Joana Cipriano. The Supreme Court later determined a sentence of 16 years each, for Leonor and her brother João.


I’m curious about one thing: in UK, when people is accused of a crime, are they sentenced without having a trial? Chief-Inspector Amaral and the three CID officers are accused of beating a woman, inside a Police station. How many cases of that are groundless accusations from hardened criminals? And who is Leonor Cipriano?

Leonor Cipriano, the poor “mum” (*) that accuses four CID police officers of beating her, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, in November 2005. She spanked her own daughter until she died, with the help of his brother, João Cupriano, sentenced to 20 years in jail. They beat the 8 year old girl because she discovered them - brother and sister - having sexual relations and they were afraid she could tell it to Leonor Cipriano’s lover !!!!

Whem the girl died, they cut the body in pieces, keep some of the pieces at Leonor's home refrigerator and later, made the body disappear, giving it to be eaten bu animals. After they killed the girl, Leomnor Cipriano went out for a popular festivity, in a nearby village. She didn't reported to Police her daughter's disappearance for two days.

Leonor Cipriano named four CID offciers for beating her but, during a line-up to indentify the aggressors, were the four named CID officers were present, she didn’t recognise not even one of them...

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