The refusal of jailed former prime minister José Sócrates to wear an electronic bracelet if remanded to house arrest has meant that he will now almost certainly remain another three months behind bars in Évora jail.
Unlike the previous six months, these months are likely to be the most gruelling, explains national media.
Not only will Sócrates have to face the habitual privations of incarceration – and the apparent periodic infestation of his cell-block by fleas – he now has the hottest stretch of the summer ahead of him, in the country’s “hottest region”, with no access to air conditioning.
According to Correio da Manhã, Sócrates’ disgust at the prospect of wearing an electronic bracelet under house arrest was greater even than his dread of weathering the summer in a small cell poorly insulated against temperatures that can regularly nudge 40ºC.
CM explained that Sócrates has told fellow inmates he will be leaving jail “on his supporters’ shoulders”, and would not countenance the indignity of institutional bling.
Meantime, transcripts of Sócrates’ recent grillings have been splashed across the national media – showing him to be as belligerent as ever, totally refuting the public ministry’s allegations against him.
Weekly magazine Sábado carried its exclusive: “Everything Sócrates said in an explosive interrogation”, which has now been widely repeated elsewhere.
The bottom line is that the former politician who has been in jail since November without any formal charges continues to claim he is being persecuted.
In one excerpt, Sócrates is alleged to have said: “In any decent country of the world, the prosecutor would say: ‘Look, this is what we have against you. We will accuse you, and we will accuse you in a reasonable period of time’. Six months, sir, sorry, isn’t this time to start playing fair?”
The article appeared almost at exactly the same moment as further ‘accusations’ of corruption are said to have been levelled against him.
For now, as Portuguese papers keep reminding us, José Sócrates is suspected of multimillion-euro crimes ranging from illicit acts to corruption, money-laundering, tax evasion and qualified fiscal fraud.
The extent of his influence when both in power and out, extended to allegations that he “altered planning laws” to help developers – in the Algarve (see: https://www.portugalresident.com/s%C3%B3crates%E2%80%99-vale-do-lobo-connection-did-it-extend-to-the-manipulation-of-protal) and over Lisbon’s new airport – as well as many other nefarious property deals.