Sócrates’ appeal to be heard by guitar-playing magistrate

Discreet, very experienced, competent, studious and with a love of music and playing the guitar – this is how the magistrate who will be hearing the appeal of former prime minister José Sócrates has been described in the Portuguese press this week. Agostino Soares Costa, 57, has been an appeal court judge in Lisbon for the last nine years.

Whatever he decides, however, Sócrates is unlikely to be freed from Évora jail before the end of this month.

By that time, super-judge Carlos Alexandre will also have to decide whether Sócrates’ detention in preventive custody in Évora jail should continue, as it is a bail measure that requires three-monthly revision.

Sócrates has been held in jail since November 25 and is suspected of seven economic crimes, including money-laundering and qualified tax fraud.