Controversial judge Ivo Rosa tried to block public prosecutors from listening in on the private conversations of Iraqi brothers linked to radical Islamic terrorist group Daesh and now held in preventive custody in Lisbon’s high-security Monsanto prison (click here).
According to Expresso, Judge Rosa came to his decision four months after sanctioning wiretapping of the men in 2017.
His reasoning was that if after four months there had been no incriminating conversations (which there hadn’t) prolonging such a level of vigilance was a “violation of Constitutional principles of proportionality”.
Says the paper, “he also claimed that the crimes had been allegedly committed outside of national territory”.
Public prosecutors however did not agree with him. They appealed, and they won, albeit almost three months later.
This is not the first time Judge Rosa has attempted to sideline investigations into alleged terrorism.
Back in 2018 he ruled that a case against Abdessalam Tazi should be dropped. This too was appealed against, and Tazi was later found guilty of seven crimes related to terrorism and condemned to 12 years in prison (click here).
This latest case – how long it took to garner enough evidence to arrest the men; how potentially risky interactions with high-ranking politicians may have been (click here) and how clear anecdotal warnings seemed from the outset – is still filling column inches.
Expresso explains the pair, along with a brother whose whereabouts is currently unknown, acted as a kind of Daesh police force.
“The three brothers were not Daesh fighters in the battlefields. They made up part of a security section of the terrorist organisation”.
They are not believed to have killed people, “just complied with orders the objective of which was the death of the people they arrested”.
For public prosecutors at DCIAP (the department of criminal investigation and penal action) the long-term wiretapping was vital. It allowed them to “confirm the existence of repeated contacts by Yasir and Ammar Ameen with Iraqi citizens living in Germany suspected of being part of (Daesh).
“It was able to detect the journey of their older brother to Germany at the end of 2017” as he attempted to claim asylum there – and it threw up the conversation Ammar had with a member of Oeiras town council where the 34-year-old “questioned conditions of support to refugees in Portugal, expressing the wish to blow up the headquarters of the Portuguese centre for refugees”.
But the reality is that it took all of four years – from the moment that an Iraqi citizen living in Portugal tipped authorities off about having seen the brothers in Lisbon – until last week for the men to be ‘taken out of society’ ahead of a case against them for alleged involvement in international terrorism and ‘crimes against humanity’.
And that is what is fanning a sense of deep unease within the media – particularly as President Marcelo’s security detail seems to have had no idea Yasir Ameen was a terror suspect when the head of state visited the restaurant where he was working, ultimately posing for one of his famous selfies with the young man…
As for Judge Rosa, his ‘controversial’ decisions pepper his curriculum. Most recently he was the judge who effectively dismantled the ‘Marquês’ case into alleged institutional corruption involving a Portuguese Who’s Who of big names, most notably former Socialist prime minister José Sócrates (click here).