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emad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 05:40 AM
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Portugal: Establishment tainted by abuse trial
(London): The Times reports that:

THE most sensational trial to be staged in Portugal in decades, involving accusations of a paedophile ring at the very top of the countrys Establishment, begins today when a former driver at a state orphanage appears in court amid tight security. Carlos Silvino, 46, faces 35 charges related to sexual acts allegedly committed against four minors in the three years leading up to his arrest, including a deaf-mute and a mentally handicapped boy who were residents of Casa Pia, Portugals best-known network of homes for troubled children. Senhor Silvino is expected to face a second trial over charges that he helped wealthy paedophiles to meet young boys in his care since 1975.

His arrest last November triggered an avalanche of accusations, dragging in the names of diplomats, politicians and showbiz personalities. Senhor Silvino, a former resident of Casa Pia, was arrested after a mother of one of the four minors went to police with her sons claims of rape. State prosecutors allege that Senhor Silvino targeted children who were especially vulnerable or needy, offering them sweets and trips to football matches before he began to abuse them. With this behaviour, the accused attempted to gain the trust of the students and their family members so that it would be easier to carry out the sexual acts, prosecution lawyers argue in their written accusation.

Six other people, including Paulo Pedroso, the spokesman for the Socialist Party, Jorge Ritto, a retired ambassador, and Carlos Cruz, a popular television presenter, have also been arrested. Senhor Cruz, 62, is known as Mr Television for his leading role in the media over the past 20 years. He was about to begin presenting a series called Crime Doesnt Pay at the time of his arrest. All maintain their innocence. Another six people have been questioned by police but released while the investigation continues. So far Senhor Silvino is the only suspect to have been officially charged with any crime. Public prosecutors have until the end of 2004 to press charges against the other 12 suspects. The child-sex case has dominated Portuguese headlines for the past 11 months and has shaken public confidence in politicians, especially since it was reported that top officials knew of the abuse allegations for years but took no action.

General Ramalho Eanes, a former president, was allegedly among those who knew about abuse at the home but failed to stop it. Teresa Costa Macedo, a former Secretary of State for Families, said that she had sent a dossier containing photographs and testimonies from children to the police 20 years ago but they had done nothing about it, while she was subjected to a campaign of threats. He Senhor Silvino was just one element in a huge paedophile network that involved important people in our country, Mrs Costa Macedo alleged recently. There is no suggestion that Senhor Eanes was involved in the abuse and he denies that he deliberately withheld information. The case has become the first big test of Portugals legal system since the nation returned to democracy in 1974 after nearly five decades of right-wing dictatorship. Anger over the child-abuse allegations has led to calls for stiffer penalties for sex crimes against minors. Thousands of protesters marched through Lisbon and three other cities last month to demand changes to the nations criminal code in order to better protect children. Police report that the number of complaints filed against alleged child molesters has risen sharply since the scandal was exposed.


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Capt_Nemo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 05:52 AM
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1. Yes, but the story now is how the judges in their justicialist zeal
ran over our Constitution by denying appeal rights to the defendants,
among other unconstitutional expedients, and thereby undermining the
credibility of the judicial system.
Who suffers in the middle of this debacle are the victims who deserve
justice to be done the proper way following the legal procedures, not
some cowboy judges showing off how tough they are.
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