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Madeleine McCann UK cops slammed by Portuguese politician for ''using and abusing'' his officers



Original Source: Mirror 03 July 2014

Jul 03, 2014 21:24 By Paul Byrne

Former Portuguese Home Secretary Riu Pereira claimed Portuguese authorities have been ‘subservient’ to the UK

 Long search: Maddie's parents Gerry and Kate are desperate to find out what happened to her

A former Portuguese Home Secretary has launched an astonishing attack on the UK police hunt for Madeleine McCann.


He claimed Portuguese police had been “used and abused” and ordered to work for the British.


His incredible outburst came as Scotland Yard detectives wound up the latest phase of their £5million probe into the little girl’s disappearance.


Four suspects and 11 witnesses have been quizzed this week by Portuguese police in Faro, watched over by the Met team from Operation Grange.


Specialist sniffer dogs from south Wales have also searched cars linked to the investigation.


Sources on the Algarve say the four-day operation has failed to produce new leads.


And now former government minister Riu Pereira has blasted the operation, calling it ‘absurd’ and claiming Portuguese authorities have been ‘subservient’ to the UK.


He said his country’s police officers had been used as “outsource workers”.



In a newspaper column on Thursday he wrote: “The Portuguese authorities, especially the Policia Judiciaria, have been used and abused in the ambit of international judicial cooperation, to carry out work ordered by their British counterparts.”


He added: “From chartered Air Force helicopter flights, to search from above for holes opened seven years ago, to the return of the famous sniffer dogs, as well as quizzes of ‘suspects and witnesses’, everything has been done to satisfy the aims of our oldest allies. Is such deference justified?”


He asked: “The first question that occurs to me is simple. Would the British police do the same in identical circumstances?”


Before adding: “Of course not.”


He said Portuguese police were capable of conducting their own inquiry.


“This, therefore, is the the absurdity of the situation in all its splendour. In Portugal there’s a criminal investigation with the same objective, but our authorities are working, as exclusive outsource workers, for another country’s ongoing investigation.”


And he added: “Could it be that the reopening of the case in Portugal was simply designed to facilitate the cooperation of Portuguese police at the service of British police.


“If that is true, then there was ‘manipulation’ of the case. We can conclude, without making conjectures, that it reveals a good helping of subservience which prejudices our national sovereignty as a penal state.”


The article in Portuguese daily newspaper Correio da Manha by the former minister, who is now a university lecturer, followed claims by a source close to the investigation that this week’s four day operation in Faro had failed to produce a new lead.


He said: “We’re back where we were seven years ago.”


All four men who were interviewed this week are being treated as “persons of special interest” or arguidos.


They were invited to be interviewed but there have been no arrests.



Among those quizzed is a man whose car was torched near his flat nearly a year after Madeleine went missing just before her fourth birthday in May 2007.


Police have also searched at least one of the suspect’s homes.


It is understood the four men were each asked more than 250 questions, which were drawn up by the the Met officers.


They were quizzed about their movements, phone calls and text messages on the night Madeleine vanished at Praia da Luz in May 2007.


The UK’s Operation Grange team of up to a dozen officers is being led by Det Chief Insp Andy Redwood.


They are expected to return to Portugal later in the summer to resume their investigation.


Last month three areas of scrubland close to the holiday resort where the McCann family were staying were searched.


Further searches have not been ruled out.


Operation Grange detectives believe burglars killed Madeleine during a bungled break-in at her family’s holiday apartment and buried her body nearby.





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