Lisbon judge slams case against Sócrates, saying there is no proof

Lisbon judge José Reis has gone on record saying he sees no proof of corruption in the so-called “complex case” against jailed former prime minister José Sócrates.

If it was up to him, reveals Diário de Notícias, Sócrates would already be free.

Updating the story since it broke earlier this week, DN says Reis “insinuated” that the ongoing Operation Marquês may have somehow lost its grasp, creating a kind of “bedazzlement”.

The judge “evoked the image of a traveller, who standing before the breadth of the river’s mouth – and without any justification or foundation – doesn’t stop to describe its journey from the source, presuming and taking as given that the abundant river that he sees before him has its origins in tortuous, secret streams”.

It’s an extremely flowery way of saying there is no concrete evidence against the man that has been incarcerated without formal charges for almost seven months.

As DN explains: “The appeal court judge believes there are no reasons for keeping José Sócrates in Évora prison”.

Indeed the judge “defends there weren’t even indications of corruption when the former prime minister was arrested in November 2014”, the paper continues.

Reis’ bombshell followed Sócrates’ unsuccessful appeal bid last week against superjudge Carlos Alexandre’s “declaration of complexity”.

It was on the strength of this declaration, that the Lisbon court refused Sócrates’ bid for freedom.

But Reis’ did not vote with the rest of the panel.

Straight after the vote, he proposed “the emission of an order to free José Sócrates due to lack of proof”, explains DN.

Reis’ reasoning is based on his belief that the contents of the case against Sócrates “boil down to interpretations and deductions”, with no “concrete indication of the crimes of corruption, fiscal fraud and money laundering”.

Indeed, without this proof, the case cannot be declared of “special complexity”, as “there is no complexity at all in investigating the nothing, the void”, he said.

DN adds that due to Reis’ contrary position on the panel of judges considering Sócrates’ immediate future last week, “three meetings were needed, as well as the intervention of the president of the 3rd criminal section Teresa Faria” before the final decision could be confirmed.

Reis’ name has been tabled as opposing the decision.

DN explains that the acceptance of “special complexity” has allowed for the extension of jail and house-arrest orders for up to a year.

If the declaration had not been accepted, “Sócrates would have been freed” and all the defendants in the case would have been given access to the evidence against them, adds the paper.

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