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Goncalo Amaral interviewed by Judite de Sousa

Original Source: TVI: 26 APRIL / 10 MAY 2012
First published on April 27, 2012 - Republished on May 10, 2012

With thanks to Joana Morais FOR Transcript Translation






Judite de Sousa [JS]: Here in the studio I have Goncalo Amaral, the inspector of the Judiciary Police that has lead the investigations five years ago in situ to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Good evening, Goncalo Amaral.


Goncalo Amaral [GA]: Good evening.


JS: In your opinion what causes Scotland Yard to, suddenly, ask the Judiciary Police to re-open the process and to categorically state that there are 195 new opportunities to investigate?


GA: Well, we have to understand the timing, understand the moment... Yesterday was the 25 of April [commemorative date of the end of the dictatorship in Portugal in 1974, known as Carnation Revolution] it's important because it's the day of freedom and democracy is celebrated in Portugal, and a foreign power, or someone from a foreign power is telling us: "It's like this, reopen it!". It's important. We are a few days away of the sad anniversary of the child's disappearance, a tragic moment... We are one year after that team started their investigation, where they've spent millions of pounds; they have been questioned back in England about that. To say that they have 195 opportunities of investigation - I have to ask, why is that? Why do they still have 195, why don't they have only 5?


JS: How do you explain that number? 195 avenues of investigation?


GA: They speak about sightings, about visions by mediums, in things that were produced, various things that have been produced over the years and well produced regarding those sightings, now the English police has to pass the ball to the Portuguese police and we are left with the onus and expenses of investigating. It is important to reopen the process, nobody should doubt that, but to reopen the process without limitations, the way they want to limit us.


JS: What are the limitations they want to impose on us? 



GA: They want to impose an abduction. Actually they speak about two possibilities, that she could be alive or dead. And that is what it is.2


JS: No, Scotland Yard say that...


GA: No, Scotland Yard affirmed that the child could be alive or dead.


JS: ... she could be alive.


GA: Or could be dead. Don't forget the "could be dead". It's about 50% chances. And that is the real sadness. It's been five years and we still do not know what happened to this child and it is our fault. It's ours!


JS: Ours? Of whom?


GA: Of our Justice system, of our Attorney General who allowed this investigation to be shelved. In September 2007 we had reached certain conclusions, they were interim conclusions, and a criminal investigation needs to be concluded. It needs to be finished. The investigation was never allowed to arrive at an end. It was important to understand if the conclusions we had arrived at then could, in the end, be proved or disproved, be or not different - that is how a proper criminal investigation should proceed.


JS: Why, in your opinion, did the Portuguese General Attorney's Office decided to archive the process?


GA: Because we are Portuguese and they are English - as simple as that. We are small and they are big. This is what is happening right now.


JS: Then, do you defend the thesis that there were political pressures?


GA: There are no doubts about that. Just recently our current prime minister was in England, he held talks with David Cameron and spoke or was told (about this case)3. It would have been important for our prime-minister to speak first with those who were involved in the investigation in order to have a better understanding of what happened…


JS: But it becomes difficult for those that are viewing and listening to us, to comprehend for what reason the political power in London or a police with the prestige of Scotland Yard are so focused, committed on this case, five years later, particularly since the process has long been archived in Portugal. What do you think is the true motivation behind this review?


GA: Do you really believe that they are focused, committed? They speak about a 28-man squad, from the Scotland Yard... Allow me to inform you that it is just a metropolitan police of a city, of the city of London. Here in Portugal the investigation was done by the Judiciary Police, a much higher rank police, with jurisdictional competence for the whole country, which is not the case of the Metropolitan police. Let's be clear about this, we [Portuguese Judiciary Police] are what we are, but maybe we can be equally or even better than they are - that is the issue. Now, concerning those 28 police officers, they investigated (the case files)4 and arrived to the conclusion: "We have 195 hypothesis of". Well, the question is why do they still have 195? Why not just 5? Don't you see?


JS: So you think that they say 195, just as they could say 10, 15, 20, 200, 300? 


GA: They have to justify the money they have spent. It would have been better if they had said only five. That would have been meaningful, it would mean that they had closed the range of possibilities. To say that they have 20, 30, 40, 195, 200, 300, 400... Look, of sightings by psychics, dreams by mediums, we had hundreds, dozen, thousands of those, take your pick. Now facts, indicia, all that is in the report made in September of 2007 put together by the Judiciary Police and by the English police - let's not forget the fact that it was the local police where the McCann couple lives that was working with us, not the Metropolitan police. Here we have the Judiciary Police that has the national competence to investigate criminal cases, for a good reason... Therefore that that was established [in the report] at the time cannot be refuted. Why are they asking us to re-open the case now? It's important to re-open the process but as Dr.Rogério Alves [McCann couple lawyer, mentor of their legal strategy in Portugal] said recently "there must be solid facts" to re-open the process. He knows very well that when the process is reopened, one step will immediately ensue, and that is the reconstruction of the facts [events of May 3, 2007]. And that reconstruction of the facts, that may be useful or not for those who were suspects, has to be done, it's the first step that needs to be done in proceeding terms in Portugal. And that didn't take place...


JS: Gonçalo Amaral, so you defend that the process should be re-opened?


GA: Yes I do, I have always defended the re-opening 6, actually it's something the McCann couple never defended, only recently, after two or three years, they've started to defend a review of the sightings - and that is what is being done. The re-opening of the process in Portugal, with all the indicia that are contained in the process, it was never defended by them. Note that when the process was archived in 2008, there were three suspects: Robert Murat and the McCann couple. Any of the three could have opposed to the process archival, some received 500.000 pounds of compensation from the British media whilst others kept quiet. Why? Because it wasn't their interest for the investigation to carry on, but the investigation needs to go on.


JS: You are talking about the child's parents?


GA: I am talking about all of them, of all those that were considered suspects.


JS: Do you maintain that...?


GA: The investigation needs to go on. If someone stopped, someone as an arguido, as a suspect, for example in the case of Robert Murat, if he believes, due to his own personal motives, that he doesn't have to advance with a request asking the re-opening of the investigation - he received a compensation from the English newspapers - that's fine.


JS: You maintain the belief that this child is not alive?


GA: I have one opinion. Just like that gentleman [Andy Redwood] has one opinion, "I have one opinion", he said, "that she is alive", I have the opinion that she is dead. I have the right to have my own opinion. I and other police officers, I and other [forensic] technicians, and my opinion is an opinion based on facts, unlike his who I don't know if it is based on evidence, or if it is based on pseudo-sightings, or where it is based exactly. I wrote a book where I underlie my firm belief and the facts that support my opinion, that gentleman said "we've looked at this [the process], and it's like this"... but he doesn't explain the reasons.


JS: And do you also maintain the belief of the parents responsibility in the cadaver's disappearance?


GA: Notice one thing, a criminal investigation has its own dynamics, we begin at a point and we bring it to an end. By September 2007 we had reached certain conclusions, and it would have been necessary to validate those conclusions, to advance or not in that path, we had to carry on with the investigation. That is a criminal investigation. Then someone says "you have to stop the investigation" and no progress was made since. What is left is what was made known in the process and in my book [Maddie, The Truth of the Lie]. And was expressed in the book because we were accused of several things, I was accused of several things, and that book came out in my defence. By the way, let me tell you that the book copies were formally returned today, finally after several years [7.500 book copies were seized after a McCann couple injunction].


JS: And it's going to be placed again in the bookshops.


GA: I believe so, yes. People have the right to read the book...


JS: Gonçalo Amaral, what are...?


GA: Now, those were conclusions arrived at a determined moment of the investigation, they are not final conclusions. They are interim, and people have to understand that.


JS: What should be the Oporto's Judiciary Police team line of investigation if the process is re-opened?


GA: Oporto's team has no chance of investigating the process, the events took place in the Algarve, as much as they wish, as much competence they have, they can't - they're too far away from it [as to time, crime scene/terrain and circumstances]. It's logical that it is important for someone to be distanced, in terms of location and time, but they don't stand any chances, they really don't, because it all took place in Algarve. Either the investigation is made by the Algarve or between the Lisbon and Algarve Judiciary Police, or is investigated in England as it should be. In fact, the English police, Scotland Yard have the money to support the costs, they can spend an extra few million pounds and investigate what happened to a British subject, that is, Madeleine McCann, of English nationality.


JS: Gonçalo, explain me one issue. In your point of view, what are the reasons that led the National Judiciary Police Directorate to send to Oporto the Maddie McCann case?


GA: The reasons? They were justified by Dr. Pedro do Carmo, because of the distance, because of the geographical distance, the distance in terms of people, but in terms of competence...


JS: And what do those reasons tell you?


GA: In Lisbon, for example the former DCCB7, the current National Unit Against Terrorism have much more experienced people - I'm not talking about competence - but much more experienced people in the area of abductions, kidnappings, disappearances and so on, than Oporto has. Oporto only has...


JS: So, you don't understand that decision?


GA: My colleague, that I know very well, Dr. Helena Monteiro, has a big case, the case of the young woman from Lamego, that disappeared there and later appeared close to the motorway connection to Régua8, it's an important case but the young woman was dead, she had been there for a month, and they could have located her with a GPS, but well...To state that they have a great experience [in missing people cases] it doesn't make much sense.


JS: But are you saying that your colleagues from Oporto....


GA: They are very competent, have no doubts about that. They are police officers, they are competent, they are criminal investigators, they are competent.


JS: But you don't believe that they can solve this case?


GA: Too many pages. Too much indicia, too many things that need to be read, and sometimes it's difficult to read 9.


JS: Gonçalo Amaral, what happened to your team? To the persons who worked with you during the investigation to this case?


GA: They are being persecuted, case by case, they are being persecuted. The last case was with my colleague, Ricardo Paiva 10, who was a target of an entrapment, an entrapment at facebook [social site], and Dr. Pedro do Carmo immediately stated that he had violated a number of duties, etc. It's interesting because Pedro do Carmo....


JS: One question...


GA: Allow me to conclude, in terms of disciplinary processes Dr. Pedro do Carmo was the person who had to make a decision, and immediately before any investigation is made to that incident, he stated that Ricardo Paiva had violated the secrecy of, a series of duties, and we have to ask, why does this happen? Why does someone, a deputy director of the Judiciary Police, comes to the public, on his tiptoes11, speaking against him [a colleague]? It's because they are witnesses. Ricardo Paiva is one of my witnesses in the process the McCann couple have against me, and why do these directors, these people who are now directors - at this moment they are representing the Judiciary Police, but they are not the Judiciary Police - the Judiciary Police has a history, beyond these directors...


JS: Let me go back to the point that you just made, what you are saying is that your colleagues that remain active, in the Judiciary Police, are being persecuted?


GA: There are no doubts about that.


JS: Inside the Judiciary Police?


GA: Inside the Judiciary Police.


JS: They are suffering retaliations?


GA: They are suffering retaliations, simply because they worked with me. I can't go to the police, I can't contact anyone because immediate retaliations follow. That has happened before. Therefore I limit myself to the life in my neighbourhood, it's a pretty neighbourhood, very close to the EXPO, where I lived for forty years, and now I'm back again.


JS: Did this case ruined you?


GA: It didn't ruin me per se, I live through this moment of crisis like all of us are. I am surviving, and will continue to do so. I will go on with calm and serenity.


JS: Gonçalo Amaral, thank you so much for coming here tonight to 'News at 8'.


GA: Thank you, good night.


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