Skinhead leader believes he was a political prisoner

THE LEADER of the Order of Lawyers said he was satisfied with the release from prison of a fanatical Portuguese skinhead leader.

Mário Machado is one of 36 defendants being tried for racial discrimination at Lisbon’s Monsanto Court, and the only one to have been detained in prison custody for over a year without verdict.

“There were absolutely no reasons to keep this man in prison for so long,” said Marinho Pinto, Bastonário dos Advogados.

Marinho Pinto has been lobbying parliament to end imprisonment without trial in such cases as Mário Machado.

“I completely disagree with Mário Machado’s ideas but still think he was a victim of an unjust and fundamentalist legal interpretation of Portuguese criminal law,” he told the Lusa news agency.

Although Mário Machado has been released from prison, he is still subject to a number of custodial measures, prohibited from leaving his area of residence without police authority or contacting other defendants until the end of the trial on June 18.

The court case currently being heard in Monsanto is the first to try 36 defendants for racial discrimination.

Mário Machado has already spent several years in prison for being involved with a group of other skinheads in the death of a Portuguese citizen of Cape Verde origins, Alcino Monteiro, who was beaten to death in 1995.

Last week, Mário Machado reaffirmed his belief that he is a ‘political prisoner’ being tried for his political beliefs.

His lawyer José Manuel Castro said he was convinced that the accusation of racial discrimination imputed to his client “was very weak and circumstantial.”