Allegations of ill-treatment by police and subsequent impunity continued in 2007.
- On 29 May the Criminal Court in Lisbon acquitted all seven defendants in a criminal case brought against prison officers accused of assaulting Albino Libânio in Lisbon Prison in 2003. The Prison Service Inspectorate of the General Directorate of Prison Services had investigated the incident and concluded that Albino Libânio had indeed been assaulted by prison officers as he alleged. The court recognized the injuries suffered by Albino Libânio, but acquitted the defendants on the grounds of lack of evidence proving their responsibility. Albino Libânio lodged an appeal with the Court of Appeal on the basis that the court had failed to conduct basic investigations that would have provided the information necessary to secure a conviction. The appeal was pending at the end of the year.
A new immigration law, which entered into force on 4 July, introduced certain legal rights for migrants awaiting decision on their expulsion from or admission into Portuguese territory, with particular emphasis on the rights of unaccompanied minors. The law also specifies that facilitating illegal migration in a manner that endangers the life of the migrant or constitutes inhuman or degrading treatment can be punished by two to eight years’ imprisonment. Victims of trafficking are no longer classified as illegal immigrants.
Violence against women
The third National Plan Against Domestic Violence entered into force in June. One of its key provisions is guaranteed free access to health care for victims of domestic violence. In July the government stated that 39 women had been killed by their husbands or partners during 2006.
‘War on terror’
On 25 January the Minister for Foreign Affairs stated that the government’s investigations into alleged CIA flight stopovers in Portugal during illegal transfers of suspects between countries (renditions) had been closed, stating that there was no evidence to support the continuation of the inquiry. However, on 5 February the Office of Public Prosecutions announced that it was opening a criminal investigation into possible torture and other ill-treatment related to suspected CIA rendition flights, on the basis of information provided to it by a Portuguese Member of the European Parliament and a journalist. No further information was publicly available at the end of the year.