Justice 4 ALL Madeleine McCann Family
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Portuguese police procedure for missing kids.

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Portuguese police procedure for missing kids.

Post by vee8 on Thu Jul 02, 2009 5:38 am

I just found this on PFA2. Very interesting. The full thread is here.

http://www.pfa2.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2991

LISBON, May 18 (IPS) - Never before has the Portuguese idiom "para o inglês ver" (literally: for the English to see), which means putting on a front to impress outsiders and ward off criticism, been so apt as today in Portugal, when the entire country has its attention riveted on the case of a four-year-old British girl who disappeared from a hotel two weeks ago.

The investigation into the May 3 disappearance of Madeleine McCann from a resort in Portugal's southern Algarve region has come up with few leads and little evidence, despite the unprecedented police effort in a country where kidnappings of local children have gone largely unnoticed.

The saying "para o inglês ver", remarkably pertinent with respect to this case, emerged in Brazil in 1831, when a law was passed prohibiting the importation of slaves under pressure from the British. However, the law was not enforced, and the slave trade continued at a brisk pace in Brazil and in Portugal's African colonies, thus giving rise to the idiom that referred to a law approved merely for the sake of appearance.

Madeleine went missing from her hotel room at the Ocean Club resort in the village of Praia da Luz, where she was sleeping along with her two-year-old twin siblings while their parents had dinner at a poolside tapas bar 40 metres away.

Since then, the British ambassador has gotten involved, and the Judicial Police, with the support of other police forces, has launched a search and investigation operation of a scope never before seen in Portugal, with130 senior officers and 800 beat officers reportedly assigned to the case.

In the last two weeks, the quiet former fishing village of Praia da Luz has been overrun by police officers and their dogs, as well as battalions of British and Portuguese journalists who have set up satellite dishes to broadcast around the clock.

The only suspect investigated so far is Robert Murat, a British resident of Praia da Luz. Also questioned, but as a witness, was Russian computer specialist Sergei Malinka, who helped design a web site for Murat.

Murat's home, near the Ocean Club, was searched by the police, who said they did not arrest him because not enough evidence was found, although tests are still being carried out on objects found in the dwelling.

The police have not been forthcoming with information, and much of the media coverage has been speculation.

The case has triggered a media feeding frenzy and has snowballed into an international cause, in which ordinary citizens, analysts, psychologists, doctors and criminologists have all offered their opinions and advice on radio and television programmes and web logs (blogs).

Some observers point out that Madeleine comes from a well-heeled British family (both of her parents are doctors), unlike so many Portuguese or immigrant children whose disappearance has drawn scant attention from the press.

Brazilian-Portuguese activist Ana Filgueiras told IPS that "the deployment of resources to find the missing girl is laudable, but it is regrettable that the same does not happen in the case of people who are less well-off. In Portugal we have never before seen a mobilisation of this magnitude."

Filgueiras founded the non-governmental Brazilian Centre for the Defence of Children's Rights (CBDDCA) in the 1970s, which drew attention to the killings of street children by military police in Rio de Janeiro.

"Across the globe, but especially in Africa, Latin America and Asia, the kidnapping of children is almost routine, but the phenomenon receives little coverage from media that are more interested in reporting each and every detail of the disappearance of a British girl, even though the case is insignificant in statistical terms," said Filgueiras.

According to UNICEF (the U.N. children's fund), 1.2 million children are trafficked every year around the world.

In Portugal, SOS Criança Desaparecida (SOS Missing Children) of the Instituto de Apoio à Crianza opened 31 new cases last year of missing children, involving 19 girls and 12 boys.

Filgueiras said that when Portuguese children go missing, "no TV station airs photos of the victims," but in Madeleine's case "we are watching a soap opera conceived of to boost ratings and readership to a maximum, by playing on people's feelings."

"If Madeleine were the daughter of parents from Africa, Eastern Europe or even Portugal, would the media have seized on it like this? Would there be so much news, and such an outpouring of concern?" asks someone writing at http://mrsleeves.blogspot.com, a Portuguese language blog.

Another blog, http://insolitos-da-gravata.blogspot.com/, notes that in the case of Joanna, a Portuguese girl who disappeared a year ago, "it took the police several days to start searching, while in this case it took just 30 minutes, and I can't avoid thinking, selfishly, that it was only because she was from a well-off English family, since any of us would have had to wait for 48 hours after the disappearance, as established by law."

The Judicial Police launched the investigation six hours after Kate McCann, Madeleine's mother, reported that her daughter was missing. "Record time in Portugal," said Carlos Anjos, president of the association of criminal investigators, who added, however, that six hours was enough time for the kidnappers to have sped across the border with Spain, just 150 kilometres away.

In his Thursday column in the Público newspaper, the former head of Portugal's bar association, José Miguel Júdice, said the enormous mobilisation was due to the fact that the little girl "is English, white, and the daughter of doctors."

In the cases of the 31 children who went missing last year in Portugal, "we didn't see helicopters or planes chartered by TV stations, or hundreds of police officers and trained dogs," he wrote.

The British and Portuguese media have not reacted this way on other occasions, "and they couldn't care less about reporting on the immense tragedy in (the Sudanese region of) Darfur, because doing so is infinitely more dangerous and brings less audience and readership than describing, live and direct, every single detail of the family drama" in Praia da Luz, Júdice maintained. (END/2007)


http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=37797
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vee8
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Re: Portuguese police procedure for missing kids.

Post by sadie on Thu Jul 02, 2009 8:03 am

Let us hope that having learned some lessons from the Madeleine case the PJ will react much more quickly in future. Immediately, in fact. Having the new Alert system ensures that I suspect.

All, these unhappy families bereft of their children and all these lovely children frightened and alone, at the very best.

I wonder how long it takes to react in the UK and the rest of the world?

So much sadness in the world and the children often seem to be the last to be looked after.

Thanks Vee for posting that.
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Re: Portuguese police procedure for missing kids.

Post by bluj1515 on Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:23 am

At least in the states there is certainly no prohibition against springing into action right away. Some departments won't start looking for adults for 24 hours or longer because adults have the right to disappear. But with children, certainly immediately. I've seen Amber Alerts from thousands of miles away within a few hours of the child having gone missing.

What bothers me more than anything else with this system is the police's refusal to release information about the child. How can they think that is effective? Why is the public not allowed to know?
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Re: Portuguese police procedure for missing kids.

Post by dianeh on Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:34 am

Bluj

This is something that we have all puzzled over. How cant the public assist in finding the child if they dont even know what he/she looks like?

Truly bizarre.
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Re: Portuguese police procedure for missing kids.

Post by bluj1515 on Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:36 am

It's something I just don't understand, how details about the victim that are needed to find them can be secret.

Makes you wonder exactly who it is suppose to protect.
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Re: Portuguese police procedure for missing kids.

Post by clairesy on Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:43 pm

bluj1515 wrote:It's something I just don't understand, how details about the victim that are needed to find them can be secret.

Makes you wonder exactly who it is suppose to protect.

clapping clapping exactly bluj....its baffling.I would imagine though if a child of one of the cops went missing they would do everything to find that child right away...not leave it for many hours before they even assume shes missing!
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MISSING CHILDREN.

Post by Royal on Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:31 am

An interesting article Clairesy. It seems to me that Anna Filgueiras was emphasizing her disaproval of the efforts by the PJ in the search for Madeleine rather than stressing her opinion that 'all' missing children regardless of their nationality, colour or creed should be treated with the same sense of concern and urgency! It is to Portugals shame that they have treated their missing children with such indifference! It is true that in Madeleine's case the media went to town, mostly to increase their circulation value, it turned out to be an unprecedented bonanza for all newspapers wordwide and it was they who dragged out every detail, milked to death every lie and unsubstantiated piece of evidence. Not only were the papers making a fortune out of the case but some of the Portuguese police didn't 'allegedly' do too bad out of it either by dropping one or two falsehoods in the right quarters. It's also true to say that Madeleines parents at first encouraged the press in order to keep the case alive but then some of the papers decided it also helped to promote circulation by starting to attack the parents!
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