Portugal's prime minister on Tuesday expressed confidence in the nation's justice system, one day after 10 people, including top political and TV figures, were charged with sexually abusing minors from a state-run home.
"I reaffirm my full confidence in Portuguese justice," Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso said.
"I expect the guilty will be punished and the innocent will be absolved," he said.
"The Portuguese just want justice to be done. I join them in this wish," he added, in his first public comments since charges were laid.
Public prosecutors said the 10 were charged with seven crimes, including rape, child sexual abuse and the procurement of minors for sex acts. No date for the trial has been set.
Among those charged are popular TV presenter Carlos Cruz, whose career spans more than three decades; comedian Herman Jose, whose Sunday night talk show tops weekly ratings; and the former Portuguese ambassador to South Africa, Jorge Ritto.
Parliamentary deputy Paulo Pedroso, a former employment minister in the previous Socialist government and the spokesman for the Socialist Party until his name became linked with the scandal earlier this year, was also charged.
The lawmaker said on Monday that he would take steps to have his parliamentary immunity lifted so he could be tried and clear his name.
Pedroso, who had been tipped as a possible party leader, was charged with 23 counts of sexual abuse of minors.
The charges followed a police investigation which began in November, 2002, after the weekly newspaper Expresso reported that a driver at Casa Pia, a Lisbon-based network of homes for troubled children, had sexually molested minors in his care for over three decades.
The driver, 46-year-old Carlos Silvino, went on trial in October on 35 charges related to the sexual abuse of four minors, including a deaf-mute.
Police meanwhile continued to investigate allegations that Silvino had helped wealthy child molesters meet youngsters, mostly boys, in his care since 1975.
That investigation led Silvino to be slapped with more than 1,100 fresh charges on Monday, including 664 charges of child sexual abuse and 33 charges of procurement of minors for sex acts.
The others charged on Monday included a former director of Casa Pia, Manuel Abrantes; a doctor who reportedly carried out medical tests on the children before they were sexually abused, Joao Ferreira Diniz; a noted archeologist, Francisco Alves, and a 61-year-old woman, Gertrudes Nunes, who owns a home in southern Portugal where some of the sexual abuse was said to have occurred.
The child molestation case has dominated headlines in Portugal since it first broke, and has shaken confidence in public figures.
The upcoming trial of the accused is being billed as the first major test of Portugal's notoriously slow legal system since the country returned to democracy in 1974 after nearly five decades of repressive right-wing dictatorship.
Over a few hours under gray skies, dozens of combat planes and helicopters roar on and off the flight deck of the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier, in a demonstration of US military power in some of the world’s most hotly contested waters. MH-60 Seahawk helicopters and F/A-18 Hornet jets bearing pilot call signs such as “Fozzie Bear,” “Pig Sweat” and “Bongoo” emit deafening screams as they land in the drizzle on the Nimitz, which is leading a carrier strike group that entered the South China Sea two weeks ago. US Rear Admiral Christopher Sweeney, who is commanding the group, said the tour
Sitting in a lotus position, four men weave glittering beads through gold thread on an organza sheet, carefully constructing a wedding dress that would soon wow crowds at Paris Fashion Week. For once, the French couturier behind the design, Julien Fournie, is determined to put these craftsmen in the spotlight. His new collection, which showed in Paris on Tuesday, was entirely made with fabrics from Mumbai. He said that a sort of “design imperialism” means that French fashion houses often play down that their fabrics are made outside France. “The houses which don’t admit it are perhaps afraid of losing their clientele,” Fournie
A court in Thailand sentenced a 27-year-old political activist to 28 years in prison on Thursday for posting messages on Facebook that it said defamed the country’s monarchy, while two young women charged with the same offense continued a hunger strike after being hospitalized. The court in the northern province of Chiang Rai found that Mongkhon Thirakot contravened the lese majeste law in 14 of 27 posts for which he was arrested in August last year. The law covers the king, queen and heirs, and any regent. The lese majeste law carries a prison term of three to 15 years per incident for
INSTABILITY: The country has seen a 33 percent increase in land that cultivates poppies since the military took over the government in 2021, a UN report said The production of opium in Myanmar has flourished since the military’s seizure of power, with the cultivation of poppies up by one-third in the past year, as eradication efforts have dropped and the faltering economy has led more people toward the drug trade, a UN report released yesterday showed. Last year, the first full growing season since the military wrested control of the country from the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in 2021, saw a 33 percent increase in Myanmar’s cultivation area to 40,100 hectares, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime report said. “Economic, security and governance disruptions