By: CECÍLIA PIRES
THE MADELEINE case investigation is to see new action in the next couple of weeks.
While a team of PJ investigators prepares to travel to the UK on Monday (April 7) for further enquiries into the case, a lawyer of Gerry and Kate McCann has revealed that the deadline for the secrecy of justice rule imposed on this case ends in August.
The new information is being considered very positive by the family of Madeleine McCann, who went missing in May 3 2007 while sleeping in the family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz.
According to Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for Gerry and Kate McCann, and following the new enquiries, the couple are
hoping that they will be released from the arguido status before the calendar marks one year since their daughter’s disappearance.
The way the date is to be remembered “depends now on the result of the interviews to be made by the Portuguese police”, Clarence Mitchell told Lusa news agency on Monday.
However, Kate and Gerry “will not be giving any interviews if their arguido status is kept, but also refuse to let the case go cold if that status is dropped”, said Mr Mitchell.
“Madeleine is still missing. There is no evidence of her death and the family still want the Portuguese police to help find her”, he underlined.
According to sources quoted in British and Portuguese newspapers, the new enquiries are to be focused on the friends who were holidaying with Kate and Gerry McCann at the time Madeleine disappeared from the Ocean Club, in Praia da Luz.
Although the Portuguese police refuse to confirm any details on the case, the Leicestershire police department issued a statement confirming that “it will be coordinating the request of mutual legal assistance made by the Portuguese authorities”.
The statement adds that “Portuguese authorities asked for the content of the request and the way it will be carried out to be kept confidential so that the ongoing investigation is not jeopardized”.
In the meantime, for the investigators who always insisted that the confidentiality of the investigations was of vital importance, time is getting shorter, considering recent statements made by one of the McCanns’ lawyers.
Interviewed by Associated Press this week, Rogério Alves, former president of the Portuguese Lawyers Order, was reported to have said that the secrecy period constraining this investigation was due to end on April 14 and that the legal deadline could only be extended for major inquiries, such as the ones related to terrorism and organised crime.
However, the same lawyer would later clarify to the Portuguese daily newspaper Correio da Manhã that it is officially assumed that the beginning of the investigation started in September, when Kate and Gerry were named arguidos. Therefore, he told the newspaper, the deadline for the files to be released for public consultation “ends only in August 2008” and not April 14 as previously reported in the UK.
If you have any information on the whereabouts of Madeleine McCann, please contact the McCann helpline on 0034 902 300 213 or the Portuguese Police on 00351 282 405 400.
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