Portuguese “marooned” on tropical island awaiting trial

Many of us could think of almost nothing better: an extended stay on a tropical island miles from civilisation. But for Portuguese surfer João Goncalves it is proving a never-ending nightmare.

Surf hostel owner Gonçalves set off for a dream trip with his girlfriend, arriving on the tiny island of Kiritimati in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in February.

We’re not given the full details, but at some point their boat required rescue at which juncture over €20,000 in cash was discovered, as well as a stash of hashish.

Gonçalves was summarily remanded to the local jail – a place without any fresh water and where food is scarce – for weeks before being released, pending trial.

The problem, explain newspapers, is that Kiritimati does not have any lawyers or judges. These have to be brought in by boat to dispense justice, sporadically – “depending on the weather conditions”.

Storms, which are apparently prevalent in the area, often delay scheduled visits – and thus Gonçalves has been holed-up in a local hotel, simply waiting.

A boat delivering judges is not expected to arrive before June – and his requests for transfer to the capital of the archipelago remain unanswered.

In Portugal, Gonçalves is the owner of Hostel Backpackers in Peniche, but in Kiritimati he is a man frustrated, unable to move forwards with his dream trip or move outside the confines of his away-from-it-all hotel.

The only saving grace perhaps is that his girlfriend has remained by his side throughout, concludes Correio da Manhã.

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