Mário Machado after his last release from police custody

Judge gives neo-nazi leave to fight in Ukraine

Suspends order obliging Mário Machado to report bi-monthly to authorities 

Expresso reports today that a judge at TIC (the court of criminal instruction) in Lisbon has given neo-nazi former Hammerskins member Mário Machado leave to fight in Ukraine.

The paper revealed last weekend that a group of eight Portuguese nationalists were preparing to leave Portugal this coming weekend to fight on the side of Ukraine, most likely joining the international legion, approved by Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky two years after the annexation of Crimea, and reinforced three days after the Russian invasion in February.

Since then however, the message from the Portuguese government is that ‘no Portuguese citizens’ should be heading out for Ukraine, for whatever reason.

These entreaties clearly haven’t cut any ice with Mário Machado and his colleagues.

It is only Machado who is ‘hampered’ by criminal proceedings limiting his freedom – and his lawyer José Manuel Castro managed to phrase the request for these limits to be suspended on the basis of Ukraine’s humanitarian situation, and his client’s desires to help repel the invaders.

Says Expresso, the judge “considered that bearing in mind the humanitarian situation lived in Ukraine and the reasons invoked by the defendant for going, he can stop complying with bail measures while he is out of the country…

Mário Machado is an ‘arguido’ (official suspect) in a case of incitement to racial hatred and violence over social media.

He has also been indicted for possession of a prohibited weapon, writes Expresso.

Yet still he is considered ‘go to go’.

The group is due to leave Portugal on Sunday and join an extreme-right militia in Lviv, says the paper – again stressing that the militia is not the Azov Battalion, “the most powerful armed Ukrainian neo-nazi group”.

Mário Machado’s past is a chequered one: he has been jailed for crimes of racial hatred, grevious bodily harm and the possession of illegal weaponry: in 1997 he was condemned to four years and three months for his involvement in the death of a Portuguese citizen from Cape Verde, who died at the hands of a mob of skinheads in the Bairro Alto in June 1995.

In 2007, he was condemned to seven months in jail for the possession of an illegal weapon, and three months (suspended) for possession of a prohibited weapon.

The following year he was back in the dock for “some of these crimes”, receiving further jail time – and then in 2009 he was sentenced to seven years and two months for kidnap, robbery and coercion.

“In 2012, the Loures Criminal Court set the legal term of imprisonment for Machado at ten years. Already serving a prison sentence in Alcoentre, he was accused and later convicted of attempted aggravated extortion, from jail, and in 2016 the court sentenced Mário Machado to another two years and nine months in prison”.

After finally being released from jail, he found himself arrested and detained again late last year, but released from preventive custody after three nights (the case being the one for which he has been required to report bi-monthly to authorities).

So far there has been no response from members of the government over how the judge has basically gone against its ‘wishes’, and in this case, there may not be.

This group knows perfectly well what it is heading into, and there are no laws in place to stop its members leaving as planned. 

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com