Marco Martins pledges to fight ruling to ‘final consequences’
Mayor of Gondomar, Marco Martins, has said today he is in a “state of shock” over the court decision requiring his municipality to dig up more than a thousand dead bodies.
He has told Jornal de Notícias that he believes the ruling is “senseless and illegal”.
Vowing to fight the order “to the final consequences”, he stresses that, “among other aspects”, the court did not take into account the “sentimental side of this issue“.
“I’m in a state of shock, completely incredulous. With all due respect to Justice, this decision has no leg to stand on, it doesn’t take into account the sentimental aspect of the issue and, what’s more, it’s illegal“, he told JN.
According to the paper, part of Gondomar’s Rio Tinto Cemetery No. 2 has been installed since 2001 on land that has been the target of a legal dispute in which the return of around 10,000 square metres was requested.
The land, which used to have five owners, was sold to the northern Portuguese local authority by a real estate company on the basis that it was “free of charges and encumbrances”.
Only, according to JN’s report, it wasn’t.
And the court has found that 1,757 sq meters should not have been sold, as it did not actually belong to the person who made the initial sale.
This all goes back years: years in which legions of people have been buried on the land in question.
As Marco Martins points out, “according to the law, no body can be exhumed until three years after burial”, so in some instances at least “the sentence is not enforceable“.
But that’s before one considers the sheer nightmare of exhuming so many human remains – and the logistics of where, and how, to rebury them.
“The council will go to the Court of Appeals, will go to the final consequences and regrets the social alarm generated” by this decision, he told JN.
According to the paper, the court refused Gondomar municipality’s argument that the land where the cemetery operates is in the public domain, thus forcing the fulfilment of a 2019 ruling, which obliges the municipality to return it “just as it was in 2001” – in other words, without the rows of gravestones and over 1,000 human remains beneath them.
Source material: LUSA