PJ director supported by the government

PORTUGUESE JUSTICE Minister Alberto Costa went to the Parliament on February 13 to explain to MPs why he supported PJ national director Alípio Ribeiro after his latest statements on the Madeleine case.

The Minister appeared in the Comissão Parlamentar de Assuntos Constitucionais, Direitos, Liberdades e Garantias, the civil and constitutional rights board in Parliament, following a request from democratic MP Nuno Melo. He asked for the government’s reaction to Alípio Ribeiro’s public comments that investigators had been “hasty “in naming Gerry and Kate McCann arguidos (see The Resident, February 15).

Credibility

According to the Justice Minister, the statements did not violate the law of secrecy of justice and had not constrained the investigation. Alberto Costa told the MPs that “if there was any sign of violation of the secrecy of justice, an inquiry would already have been ordered”.

He refuted the claim that the investigation’s credibility had been affected by Alípio Ribeiro’s statements and asked for calm.“We must quietly wait for the result of this investigation and one must not anticipate any outcome before it is ended”, he said.

On their blog on the Find Madeleine website, Gerry and Kate McCann restated that they “will not give up looking” for Madeleine and claimed to be happy with the possibility that “the investigation is nearing a close”, in reaction to the Justice Minister’s public statements.

They said they hoped their “arguido status will be lifted in the near future so that everyone can concentrate on searching for Madeleine”.

Searching

Time Dive, the Lagos-based company working with the Madeira lawyer Marcos Aragão, who is convinced Madeleine McCann’s body is in the Arade Dam near Silves, were still waiting for new instructions by the time The Resident went to press.

Martin Salkous, one of the company’s divers, told The Resident they were “expecting to re-start the search operations any moment” and that they were keeping in close contact with the lawyer, who is gathering funds to pay for further diving operations.

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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