Mário Soares has challenged Portugal’s president over the arrest and continued detention of former prime minister José Sócrates.
The former socialist Prime Minister and then President, Mário Soares has criticised the silence of the current President Cavaco Silva and challenges him to intervene "in the name of the Portuguese," forgetting perhaps that many Portuguese are delighted that Sócrates is in prison.
Soares also said that the judge in the Operation Marques inquiry into corruption, tax fraud and money laundering, Carlos Alexandre, should apologise to José Sócrates and free him.
In an article published in today’s Jornal de Notícias, Mário Soares considers it "unacceptable" and a "disgraceful" situation that José Sócrates finds himself in, adding rather rashly that “there is not a single item of proof against a man who has provided many services to Portugal.”
Soares says that there is no justice in Portugal and accuses the President, who should be responsible for Portugal, of saying nothing about the Sócrates case.
Cavaco Silva did mention the case last autumn saying that it would not damage the international image of Portugal but sensibly has kept quiet as there is an inquiry underway, and he may continue to do so while the case is current.
Silva also noted last November that Portugal’s democratic institutions seem to be working normally, in a broad hint as to his delight at the disgrace being suffered by the socialist Sócrates.
Mário Soares writes today of the "the futility of false accusations that were made against him (Sócrates)," and adds that Sócrates was "arrested without having any prior trial," stressing that Sócrates is a man who "has provided so many and such important services to the Portuguese, the Portuguese culture and to Portugal."
In Mario Soares’ valued opinion, José Sócrates was all for promoting national interests, while others only care about their own interests.
Since the arrest of José Sócrates, Mário Soares has presented himself as a "friend and admirer" of the jailed former PM and has complained that Sócrates has been treated “like a crook” but that he has not even been to court and that when the case is judged, he will be acquitted.
José Sócrates has been in custody in Évora prison since November 25th, 2014. The former prime minister is being held on suspicion of involvement in qualified tax fraud, money laundering and corruption covered by Operation Marques.
A former Secretary of State for Justice, João Correia, stated today that in his opinion it was legal and legitimate for Sócrates to be protesting his innocence and that he could be interviewed. As Sócrates must be assumed innocent until proved otherwise, his freedom of expression is guaranteed and the ban on interviewing the former PM is not legitimate.