4 Feb 2015

What is Projecto Justiça Gonçalo Amaral?

A bit of history. A lot of friendship. 

Founded as a quest for justice and backed by supporters from all over the globe, in solidarity, friendship and above all, in the interest of furthering the investigation of the case into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Within this scope, with the relentless support of those who will not let this case pass into obscurity, who do not tolerate the leaving of unanswered questions, there are many who follow Amaral’s dissatisfaction, and whom, like him, urge for the day the truth, or some more of it will emerge.

During the last months of 2009, a group of Gonçalo Amaral friends realised that it would be impossible for him to face the costs of his defence in the civil suit that was filed against him personally – as well as against others – brought by the McCann couple and their children, in response to his book “Maddie, A Verdade Da Mentira”.

Lawsuits in Portugal are expensive, like anywhere else in the world, and the Portuguese State will only help funding legal costs if one is completely destitute. With part of his pension and the total of his assets frozen, Gonçalo Amaral would not be able to cover the legal expenses; what was left of his pension was barely enough to meet everyday living costs, but it was more than enough for the State to refuse financial support. 

Therefore, his friends decided to open a private bank account, where funds would be kept to pay, whenever necessary and whenever possible, expenses that were presented by Mr Amaral’s lawyer. Projecto Justiça Gonçalo Amaral was born out of solidarity and friendship.

The trial is ongoing, since 2009, nothing has changed, pending final judgment. We continue to accept your donations only into this one bank account and we continue to meet only legal expenses out of that very same account.

If any funds are left unused, they will be donated to a Portuguese children’s charity, according to Gonçalo Amaral’s wishes.

There are many ways to contribute to this Project. You can help by spreading information about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann by highlighting the Case File information. You can help by voicing your support for freedom of expression and freedom of opinion. You can help by supporting Gonçalo Amaral’s defence account.

We trust that Justice will be served.

Thank you.

2 Feb 2015

A Message from Gonçalo Amaral

Dear Friends,

The civil suit that was filed against me by the McCann couple is in its final stages, and the decision concerning material facts, which to me seems rather favourable, is already known. A period for legal allegations ensues, after which we will await the verdict, which I envision will translate into my longed for acquittal and the consequent lifting of the attachments that have caused me such extensive financial difficulties over the past five years. This means that it has been only due to your help that I have been able to financially sustain the ongoing lawsuit, which nonetheless cannot be said about my increasingly strangled personal life.

I say strangled because in reality I am experiencing a very serious crisis on an emotional as well as a financial level. This is due to those who have tried to asphyxiate me financially, wishing for my civil death and wanting to place me in a position where I would be unable to react judicially. After five years (counted since the civil suit was filed) the parents of the child that mysteriously disappeared on the 3rd of May of 2007 in the Algarve were not able to fully achieve what they intended. I am alive, I'm able to financially sustain the civil suit, although not much more than that...

Concerning my emotional crisis, I ask you to understand that for me, this whole struggle is not only about the fundamental discovery of the truth, because no matter how optimistic I may be, I can never forget the demand for damages amounting to 1.200.000 Euro that was filed by the couple, which, if absurdly it would be granted, will completely destroy me on all levels.

To all of you, thank you very much.

Gonçalo Amaral

Lisboa, February 2, 2015

Mensagem de Gonçalo Amaral

Mensagem de Gonçalo Amaral

Caros Amigos,

O processo civil intentado contra mim pelo casal McCann encontra-se na recta final, sendo já conhecida a decisão relativa à matéria de facto, a qual me parece bastante favorável. Segue-se agora o período de alegações de direito, no fim do qual ficaremos a aguardar a sentença, que perspectivo se traduz na minha tão esperada absolvição e consequente levantamento das penhoras que financeiramente tanto me têm prejudicado ao longo destes últimos cinco anos. Enfim, quero com isto dizer que apenas graças à ajuda de todos vós tenho conseguido suportar financeiramente o processo em curso, o que já não poderei dizer relativamente à minha vida pessoal cada vez mais estrangulada.

E, digo, estrangulada, porque na realidade me sinto emocionalmente e financeiramente numa crise muito séria. Tudo graças aos que me tentaram asfixiar financeiramente desejando a minha morte civil e colocar-me incapaz de reagir judicialmente. Ao fim de cinco anos (contados desde a interposição do processo civil) os pais da criança misteriosamente desaparecida a 3 de Maio de 2007 no Algarve, não conseguiram alcançar completamente os seus intentos. Estou vivo, consigo suportar financeiramente o processo civil, embora pouco mais…

Ainda a propósito da minha crise emocional, peço-lhes que compreendam que para mim, toda esta luta, não se resume à fundamental descoberta da verdade, isto na medida em que, por mais optimista que eu esteja, não consigo nunca esquecer o pedido de indemnização de 1.200.000 Euros deduzido pelo casal que, a ser, por absurdo, deferido, me destruirá completamente a todos os níveis.

A todos vós um muito obrigado.

Gonçalo Amaral

Lisboa, 2 de Fevereiro de 2015

Gonçalo Amaral's Interview on RTP1

Gonçalo Amaral’s interview on Agora Nós, RTP1, 23.01.2015 

Anchor – Today, our guest is Gonçalo Amaral who was on the news again yesterday because of the lawsuit that the McCann couple filed against him. Good morning, Gonçalo.

Gonçalo Amaral – Good morning.

Anchor – I read in your book that you wrote this book to defend your honour. The first question that I have for you is: Were you in any way attacked by the McCanns before the publication of the book, or even during the investigation? Were you with them, did you question them?

Gonçalo Amaral – That is a very good question. There was indeed a series of attacks, not just directed at me but at the investigation. Those attacks came not only from the parents’ side, but also from their support staff and from journalists, English and even Portuguese. That honour was not only personal but also professional. The investigation was at stake, an investigation that was never defended here in Portugal, namely by someone at the top of the Polícia Judiciária – and it’s me who defends those initial months of the investigation, and that is what the book was published for. That is one of the issues that are raised by the Lisbon Appeals Court, at the time of the injunction, which supports me, and establishes that it was licit for me to write the book.

Anchor – If you don’t mind, let’s return to the start of this story, the McCann case was the most media exposed ever, as far as the alleged abduction of a child, Madeleine McCann, is concerned. This book, “Maddie, A Verdade da Mentira”, that was written by you, why was it so controversial? What does it contain?

Gonçalo Amaral – What it contains is the conclusions of the process, of a report that exists, in September of 2007, which says that at that moment of the investigation, suspicion falls upon the [McCann] couple in terms of an accidental death inside the apartment, neglect in watching over their children that had been abandoned, and the concealment of a corpse. That is in the process and with this decision, which is not a final decision, it is merely a reply to the facts that were at stake during the trial, it agrees that this was in the process.

Anchor – The process is not concluded yet, it is still ongoing –

Gonçalo Amaral – It is still in the lower court, now there will be legal arguments, then there will be a verdict –

Anchor – We are at the stage of replies to the proved facts, is that it?

Gonçalo Amaral – Proved and not proved.

Anchor – Did you question them? Did you meet them?

Gonçalo Amaral – I met them but the questioning was performed by others, by inspectors. A coordinator does not question directly, that was done by the inspectors. But I met them.

Anchor – You accompanied this process from the beginning…

Gonçalo Amaral – I accompanied the process, the investigation from the 3rd of May of 2007 until I left the investigation on the 2nd of October of 2007. I accompanied it, participating in the investigation.

Anchor – And what happened yesterday? What was the accusation –

Gonçalo Amaral – There was no accusation yesterday. Not yesterday, the day before yesterday. What was done is – there is a decision from the magistrate, the judge, saying what is proved and what is not proved. That decision says that it is not proved that I caused the couple any damages, social or psychological or moral damages. So what was being questioned, it’s not the book that causes such damages; they were already destroyed before the book. That is important. It’s important because in this kind of process, what is at stake, contrary to what the couple said, that what was at stake was the investigation, whether they are guilty or not, none of that was being discussed there. What was at stake there was whether or not that book and that documentary could be made, if they were licit or not, if they caused the couple any damages, and whether or not it was possible to establish a causal nexus between the book and the damages. And the indications that are given lead me, and my lawyer, and people who have already read the document, to believe that there may be – there may be – a favourable verdict.

Anchor – There is a contradiction between the news that came out –

Gonçalo Amaral – There is no contradiction. There is complete manipulation of the media.

Anchor – Can you clarify that?

Gonçalo Amaral - Lusa agency, since all of this began, has been taking sides – I wouldn’t say as much as they have taken the side of the couple, but they have taken the side of the couple’s lawyer. So there have been completely false news about me. I remember an article that was published in 2009 or 2010, which mentioned I was going to be tried over torture in a certain case, that I had been accused of torture. I was in Spain at that time and I called, it was already 7 or 8 p.m. and I said “Excuse me, but this is not true. I am being accused of omitting a denunciation and making a false statement, not of torture”. And the reply that I got from the Lusa journalist was that it’s them that make the news, that it was not for me to meddle with their work and that is how it’s been –

Anchor – Even though they were talking about your life.

Gonçalo Amaral – That’s another thing that happened throughout all of these years, not only the five years of this process, but since 2007 they have been rummaging… I don’t know what else there may be.

Anchor – The fact is that concerning the McCann couple, the McCann couple was never formally tried. They were never accused. So in your book we have a contradiction with the law.

Gonçalo Amaral – What is the contradiction? I don’t accuse them. I am nobody, I’m not a magistrate, I’m not the case magistrate to write up an accusation –

Anchor – But you had knowledge, you were part of the investigation –

Gonçalo Amaral – I was a technician, I’m a technician, and like anyone else, I have the right to an opinion. And as a technician, based not only on my professionalism, but also on my knowledge as a technician, I have the right to have a technical opinion. And that book contains a technical opinion, based on facts that are in the process and that the judge says are in the process. Essentially, as is said, they are in the process. Therefore, saying that they were not accused… The process was – when I left there was already a movement to have the case archived. From the moment that they are made arguidos, everything moves to shelve the case. Interest was lost; the interest was to archive the case. And they succeeded in shelving the case. It was in the couple’s interest to have the case archived, and two things happen: The couple does nothing, and they could have done something when there was a shelving, to continue into the instruction [phase] to keep the process going, for the truth to be found. You see, the conclusions that we reached were the conclusions of an investigation. And an investigation, like someone said, is always a zigzagging of the moment. And we might even have reached the end of the investigation –

Anchor – In this case, this investigation was very traumatising, very disorganised…

Gonçalo Amaral – Disorganised, in what way?

Anchor - Because nothing was concluded, so many years later the child’s whereabouts haven’t been found.

Gonçalo Amaral – Because of interferences that took place, without interferences we would have gone further. Have no doubts about that. That is why the process was archived. When the shelving took place, the couple and another person were arguidos. Any one of them could have requested the opening of the instruction and continued the process. None of them did it, the couple because they didn’t want to, they didn’t want to do it, and the other person because he received compensation from the British courts, so he didn’t do it, he was very satisfied, and now it seems that he is an arguido again. This is what happens –

Anchor - We have to ask one last question. The truth is that the McCann couple – and this is a question and not a statement – demanded compensation worth 1.2 million euro from you because of the publication of the book “A Verdade da Mentira”. This book was very controversial because it was also a success. Many people read it –

Anchor – Many copies were sold.

Anchor – Exactly. Many people read it and created their own opinion. Do you think that in some way that opinion drew people away from the possibility of believing in that child’s parents?

Gonçalo Amaral – No, it didn’t, quite the opposite. The book, which was successful in a way that nobody expected – the contract with the editor was even made based on sales targets, 10 thousand books sold would mean a certain percentage and so on – therefore a very normal contract, nobody was thinking about bestsellers or anything like that. What the book brought was more publicity for the case. And people were not drawn away. There are many people who still defend the couple’s thesis. There are other people – those diverging opinions already existed before the book. They already existed practically before the book. What motivates the couple to file the lawsuit of 1.2 million euro may be the money. They have a firm, a firm where they are members of the board, called Madeleine Fund, which is to look for their daughter, but they are members of the board, it’s a firm, it’s not a social association, or social solidarity, it’s a firm, it’s registered in England as a firm. And what they always wanted was to destabilise me. When they went to Oprah’s programme in the United States, they said it, they wrote on their website that they hope that now nobody believes in that person anymore, for this and that –

Anchor – But Gonçalo, they had to defend themselves with the weapons at hand, if they think they are innocent…

Gonçalo Amaral – Indeed they do. I will give you one example. We speak about the book and we speak about the documentary. We forget another detail. In 2009, in January of 2009, I lived in the Algarve and was indicated to run for mayor of Olhão on behalf of the Social Democratic Party [PSD]. And that alerted that family, that situation of destabilising me, and Mr Gerald McCann came to Lisbon, there’s news from that time, he met with a top political official from PSD who has a French surname, with Dr Rogério Alves and with Dr Isabel Duarte – this is what is said, it’s what was published – and what happened then was that PSD gave me up as a candidate. This puts rights at stake, the rights of a citizen, the rights of a Portuguese citizen, and someone comes from the outside to do it. It’s the right to be elected. And this is when they start thinking about the lawsuit. It’s not about what is in the book, what is in the documentary, because what the book and the documentary contain is what is in the process. They contain technical opinions. And it’s the fear of that issue – when they come over here and put the right to be elected at stake, with the acquiescence of people inside PSD, that this happened.

Anchor – Thank you very much, Gonçalo. Our time is short but this is a subject that we would like to discuss in more depth. We will continue to follow this because the process is still in its early stages.

Gonçalo Amaral – There is no motive to get too excited, but it’s a good indication of what may be the decision.

Anchor – Thank you for joining us today.

Watch the interview on RTP1's website - starts at 22:43.