Portugal’s state prosecutor said that there is no further risk that José Sócrates could disturb the evidence gathering in Operation Marquês.
Starting today, José Sócrates can leave his home whenever he wants and travel freely within Portugal, but not overseas unless he is granted permission by Judge Carlos Alexandre.
On release from prison, home arrest was ordered for Sócrates and his co-accused friend Carlos Santos Silva, the key defendants in the Operation Marquis investigation but from today his status was changed and he can come and go as he pleases.
João Araújo considered the decision a ‘defeat’ for the state prosecutor, "They want to hide their defeat. Now there's plenty to do," said Araújo at the door of the property in Lisbon where Sócrates has been living since September 5th, having left Évora prison where he had been held for 41 weeks.
"On Monday we will receive a copy of the prosecution file and we will start to analyse it. After all these months it will confirm what we already know, that Eng. Sócrates was illegally imprisoned from November 21st, 2014," said Araújo, adding that he expects nothing in the file but 'legal mumbo-jumbo.'
The lawyer added that there is no reason for his client to face travel restrictions nor is there any reason for him still to be banned from contacting other defendants in the case.
The investigation is not yet finished but the former prime minister must formally be charged before the one year anniversary of his initial arrest in Lisbon last November.
Sócrates' lawyers are adamant that charges will be weak or non-existant - “All they have are fabricated suspicions, invented and thrown up into the air”.
Also relased from house arrest conditions is Sócrates’ friend Carlos Santos e Silva and the former minister Armando Vara on payment of €300,000 bail.