Faro PSP police detains children photographer

AN AMATEUR photographer was detained by Faro police and kept in custody FOR four hours for allegedly taking photographs of children.

Although Manuel Batista, 50, who is a state worker, protested his innocence, he was named as an arguido and had his equipment confiscated.

The case happened on the final day of the Feira de Santa Iria, October 28, an annual event that brings thousands of people to the Algarve’s capital every October.

Manuel Batista, who said he takes photos as a hobby, lives in Olhão and frequently visited the fair. However, due to what he points out as the concern of an overzealous security worker, the local police were called and the man was taken in for identification.  “They were called because someone thought I was photographing children”, he told reporters ensuring that no photos of children were taken.

However, the story changes when reported by the police. According to what a police source at the Faro headquarters of PSP told The Resident, “the man was taking photos of children” and several other people and “the court has that information as evidence”.

The man accuses the police of being too zealous and “paranoid” because of the Madeleine McCann case and claims that he was not informed about the charges pending against him.

Because he had no previous criminal record, he was sent home with Termo the Identidade e Residência (TIR), a mandatory condition of informing the police about any changes to his address, in case any of the people he photographed complain to the authorities.

The case is now waiting for a decision from the Public Ministry. The equipment and images are in storage as evidence of an alleged crime of illicit photographing and filming, according to the article n.º 199 of the Portuguese Penal Code.

The court has now six months to decide if an investigation is to go ahead by the PSP or the Polícia Judiciária, or if the case filed and the equipment returned to its owner.

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