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The Hugs and Kisses of Politics

“I never had any doubts about the honesty of Pedro Calado and the professionalism of the businessmen,” said Miguel Albuquerque this evening as he left Quinta Vigia.

Visibly moved, speaking from inside his car, the President of the Regional Government sent a hug of solidarity to the three defendants.

The outgoing president thus reacted, with few words, to the coercive measures applied to Pedro Calado and businessmen Avelino Farinha and Custódio Correia.

It should be recalled that after three weeks of detention, the criminal investigation judge Jorge Bernardes de Melo ordered the release of the three defendants indicted in an alleged corruption case in Madeira, being subject to a term of identity and residence.

After the announcement was made, Paulo Sá e Cunha, Pedro Calado’s lawyer, spoke to journalists outside the Central Court of Criminal Instruction, that the bases of the investigation into alleged crimes of corruption in Madeira are based on “a total absence of evidence,” and that, therefore, if it remains as it currently is, the process “would have to be archived.”

“This situation [detention of the defendants] was based on a total absence of evidence,” said the representative of the former Mayor of Funchal, who stressed that the release is a “very correct decision”.

However, Paulo Sá e Cunha said that he regretted the detention period of the three defendants, which has been exactly three weeks. 

“I’m sorry they weren’t released sooner, but that’s the way it is,” the lawyer said.

About his client, Paulo Sá e Cunha said that the former mayor “received the decision with great joy and a lot of emotion,” recalling that the three defendants “were subject to very adverse situations.”

“Pedro Calado will talk to the media when he sees fit. Today, as you can imagine, [the defendants] are not in a position to make public statements,” he added, in response to questions from journalists waiting outside the Central Court of Criminal Instruction, at the Justice Campus in Lisbon.

Of course, this now raises a lot of other questions:

  1. If the case is archived what happens to the defendants? Lives have been ruined and mud does stick no matter what.
  2. A three-week internment could be seen as a form of torture, a way of breaking a man down so that the weakness of the evidence is not put to the test.
  3. What will happen to the whistleblower?
  4. Why was such a momentous show trial created on such flimsy evidence?  Why were the press alerted so that they could be there at the arrest? Who leaked the documents?
  5. The current Regional Government has been razed to the ground, President Miguel Albuquerque has resigned.  How will the President of the Republic react to the news and what will he do?

There are so many questions, and the future of Madeira hangs in its balance.

Samantha Gannon

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