Sócrates “would rather stay in jail than go home on electronic bracelet”

With a change in sight to the terms of his lengthy prison detention, José Sócrates’ lawyer has said the former Socialist prime minister is unlikely to agree to going home on an electronic bracelet.

Speaking to journalists after visiting Sócrates in jail in Évora yesterday (Saturday), José Araújo affirmed that he too is opposed to the concept of electronic bling after nearly seven months in jail without any formal charges.

“I do not agree because I do not see that there are reasons for any kind of enforcement limitation, be it this or any other”, he said – adding that the final decision remains with Sócrates himself.

“The law says that the defendant has to decide, thus engineer Sócrates has until Tuesday to do so”, he concluded.

As Público newspaper explains, Tuesday is the final day for “reanalysis” of Sócrates terms of detention.

The public ministry is understood to be proposing that the former Socialist leader can return home as he no longer poses a risk to the ongoing Operation Marquês investigation. But the paper adds that Sócrates is so against the idea of an electronic bracelet that he would “rather stay in jail”.

For now, everything hinges on next week, when Sócrates is due to meet once again with “super-judge” Carlos Alexandre, who has been leading Operation Marquês as well as myriad other so-called
“corruption scandals” for the best part of his tenure as the man in charge of Lisbon’s central court of criminal instruction (TIC).

Meantime, the nation’s media has been making much of a clause in the Socialist Party’s manifesto.

Columnist João Pereira Coutinho calls it “the political gem of the week”: “to protect politicians from justice”, it is necessary to “impede the abusive use of judicial means and mechanisms as forms of pressure or constraint”.

As Coutinho remarks: “In other words, the party that aspires to govern Portugal distrusts the nation’s justice system and would like to put it in order, in the best Venezuelan tradition, so as not to upset its tribe”.

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