The honorary president of the Socialist Party, Almeida Santos said today that he believes in the innocence of José Sócrates, whom he visited this afternoon in Évora jail and that the former prime minister "has been held without being charged" or "convicted of anything."
"I have a great admiration for him and the truth is that he is stuck there without being accused of anything, "therefore, as he has not been convicted by a court, I believe in his innocence," added Santos.
Almeida Santos arrived at the prison and was quizzed by waiting journalists. The honorary president was with former socialist minister Jorge Lacão who is a current member of the national policy committee of the party.
Santos said that he was visiting the prison to "give a hug" to the former prime minister, who he said was a friend.
After the hour long visit, Santos reported that José Sócrates was in good spirits and happy, adding that, "It's the same old Sócrates."
Almeida Santos described the former PM as "a serious man," and that be believed in his innocence.
"Not only because he is José Sócrates. I believe, until proven otherwise, in the innocence of any individual who is arrested without being judged or condemned by a court," he said.
Asked by journalists about whether this case involves consequences for the Socialist Party, the honorary chairman said, "I do not think do, why?" adding that at the Socialist Party’s recent annual congress the party was not affected or involved in the case, making it clear that his visit today was in a private capacity.
Jorge Lacão said that José Sócrates has been a friend of his for many years and, as with many friends of the former prime minister, everyone is "deeply grieved by what happened and what is happening."
"But I am aware that we live in a democratic state and I believe in the functioning of our judicial institutions," said Laçao, adding that he continued to believe that, in this democratic state, justice will prevail.
Portugal’s former prime minister José Sócrates is being held in custody at Évora jail, indicted for tax fraud, money laundering and corruption.