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Commando deaths: “only the doctor is to blame”, says judge

After all the media horror stories, and the television documentary detailing a culture of abuse within the system, it appears the deaths of two young men on a Commando training course in Alcochete last summer are being blamed solely on the doctor who failed to respond quickly enough to their conditions.

This is the upshot of a judicial dispatch to which television station TVI claims to have had access.

It means the arrests of six other military personnel, and their vilification in various newspapers, may have been groundless.

Judge Cláudia Pina is quoted as having said that while the crimes “attributed” to the men are “very serious, and in the public prosecutor’s perspective motivated by rage and an irrational hatred”, this premise is “clearly subjective” and “at the very least far-fetched”.

Pina said she believes that army doctor Miguel Domingues (currently suspended) is the “only person responsible” for the deaths of two young soldiers – Hugo de Abreu and Dylan da Silva – and the hospitalisation of three others on the fated 127th Commando training course in Alcochete in September (click here).

Her exact words were that Domingues did not “assure the victims the medical care their state of health demanded”.

The explanations supplied by Domingues under interrogation were “clearly insufficient”, said the judge, and even if he had not had the “necessary means” at his disposal to treat the sick men, he could have arranged them – presumably by referring his patients quickly to hospital. Instead he showed a complete lack of interest, and “allowed his omissive conduct to lead to the men’s deaths”.

It is not instantly clear how this situation will develop, given that relatives and friends of the dead soldiers have attested to abusive treatment within the military, and the fact that da Silva at least had said he was frightened by the attitude of one of his instructors.

The much-depleted 127th course officially comes to a close this Friday with only 23 candidates, out of an initial uptake by 63. The bulk of those who pulled out did so immediately following the young soldiers’ deaths.

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PHOTO: taken from a Commando training exercise