Just as José Sócrates is admitted to Évora prison, the director of the Foreigners and Border Service, Manuel Jarmela Palos has been released from the same prison to await trial under house arrest and must wear an electronic bracelet.
A source from the Ministry of Justice said today that Maria Antónia Anes, former Secretary-general of the Ministry of Justice, and businessman Jaime Gomes soon will be released to home arrest where they too will be monitored by electronic bracelets.
The three were arrested in connection with the Golden Visa corruption investigation and are suspected of colluding with António Figueiredo, the then President of the Institute of Registries and Notaries, to fast track Golden Visas in exchange for cash payments.
Figueiredo and the businessman Zhu Xiaodong are now the only accused still in jail awaiting final charges.
Sócrates could in theory stay in Évora jail until March 2018 if the judiciary decides that he remains a flight risk or could meddle with the investigation into his financial dealings.
The Criminal Procedure Code provides for a maximum period of 40 months in prison in cases of exceptional complexity.
The former PM is accused of corruption, qualified tax evasion and money laundering. This 40 months could be extended by a further six months if the Constitutional Court agrees.
Normally the period spent in jail is four months in these types of cases, if the judge decides that jail is demanded by the alleged crimes rather than home arrest. Sócrates must be formally charged within a year but could stay in jail until his trial date, yet to be determined.
An opposite view from a judicial source is that "In cases of corruption, fraud and money laundering there has to have been strong evidence before arrest a suspect. There is no reason, therefore, that he spends so much time on remand because they already have collected much of the documentary evidence needed."
Every three months Sócrates’ continued detention in prison will be reassessed. If the judge considers that there is no danger of Sócrates fleeing the country or messing with the investigation, he may be sent home with or without an electronic bracelet.
This happens especially when the suspect has been cooperating with the investigators.
Whatever the term to be spent before being charged and sent to trial, the humiliation of the former Prime Minister is almost total.
As for the political fall out, the new general secretary of the Socialist Party António Costa said yesterday that the arrest of Sócrates "does not penalise or affect the firm convictions of the Socialist Party" and advised all fellow socialists to separate their feelings from their of political activities.
"We have to trust in justice," said António Costa, adding that justice must work independently.