Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

Saving The Portuguese Tourist Industry

Posted by Lex Fear on September 8, 2007

After news breaking of Gerry and Kate McCann officially being treated as suspects, I thought it was time to weigh in with my opinion and offline knowledge…

Portugal hasn’t exactly got a great human rights record (but then, neither has the UK), they have an unofficial reputation for arrest first, ask questions later- guilty until proven innocent. I know this as I personally met a boat captain who had spent 4 years in a Portuguese prison during the early 90’s.

He had been chartered for a trip from the UK to the Mediterranean when, in the Portuguese waters they were attacked and boarded by pirates. I cannot remember what happened to his passengers as it was a long time ago I heard his story but I do know that they kept him to pilot the boat. When the Portuguese coast guard caught them, the pirates failed to identify him as a kidnapped victim and he was jailed separately (the police believed that the pirates had hired him). The Portuguese police also tried to make him sign confessions. There was a campaign in the UK, the embassy was also involved but it was approximately 4 years before he was set free.

This is not just a one off case. For example, the name may be an unfortunate coincidence, but Gerry Mann, a fireman from Kent, was arrested in 2004 and accused of being ring-leader of a riot.

I don’t know if the McCann’s had anything to do with Madeleine’s disappearance (thought I doubt it), but there are some glaringly obvious things that can be deducted from the conduct of this investigation.

For a start, you can be sure that much of the funding for their campaign has come from Portugal’s tourist industry. The longer this goes on, especially with Madeleine not found, the more detrimental it is going to be for them next year as families book elsewhere.

Another thing I would bet on is the Portuguese government leaning on the police (for the same reason above). Why else would they offer her 2 years for a confession, before even appearing in a court? It seems they are desperate to solve this (restore their reputation) and are now resorting to underhand tactics.



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