Former Prime Minister Jose Socrates considers that the filing of the court charge on the Tancos case in the middle of the election campaign has "evident and illegitimate political motivation" and criticizes António Costa's earlier statements about justice.
These positions of José Sócrates are contained in an article published today in the online edition of the newspaper Expresso, later also sent to Lusa, under the title “This time the name is Tancos”.
“To get straight to the point, I consider that the presentation of Tancos's prosecution has a clear and illegitimate political motive. Not only for the moment chosen – in the middle of the electoral campaign – but, mainly, for the way the Public Prosecution Service directed its public disclosure ”, maintains the leader of the socialists between 2004 and 2011.
In the case of the lawsuit against the theft of weapons at the Tancos military base, according to José Sócrates, “the trick this time was basically to present the evidence on television – a message from the former minister [Azeredo Lopes] for a deputy [Tiago Barbosa Ribeiro] in which it states that it "already knew". All journalists went after it. ”
“I already knew” – this is a smoking gun. However, reading the whole message, we quickly realize that the minister says that he already knew about weapons recovery and not about the illegal way they were recovered. The message proves nothing. Nonetheless, isolating those two words allowed the formidable spell of magic that contaminated all subsequent conversation. The operation is called 'spinning' and today is a specialty of our criminal policy ”, accuses José Sócrates.
In this case of Tancos, the former Prime Minister regrets that from the moment of the diffusion of the case there was practically “neither a right of defense nor a presumption of innocence nor courts”.
“This is what this hidden, subterranean, almost absolute power has come to us that results from this extraordinary alliance between some prosecutors and journalists. The first victim is the target, that's for sure. But if we try to look a little further, the next victims will be the judges. Its role in criminal justice will move towards irrelevance. After all, we no longer need them: The Public Prosecutor investigates, the Public Prosecutor accuses, the Public Prosecutor judges – all this in the newspapers and televisions, their field of choice, ”he warns.
Regarding the moment of the prosecution's conclusion, José Sócrates considers “weak” the argument that there would be a time limit for pre-trial detention ”.
“With so much time to investigate and accuse, it's hard to find reasons for not doing so before the campaign. What remains, by the rules of common experience they are so fond of invoking, is that they wanted the prosecution to have exactly the political effect it had, ”he argues.
At the political level, José Sócrates praises the position that PSD President Rui Rio had on the face-to-face television with PS Secretary-General António Costa, although he regretted that later, with the Tancos process, the Social Democratic leader has not followed his principle of refusal of justice in the public square.
For José Sócrates, Rui Rio "produced the most unique moment of the entire campaign by boldly stating that democracy does not live with tobacco trials – a new chord that had the impact of everything you hear for the first time."
"The other [José Sócrates]With the utmost prudence he treated the case as a matter of stewardship – that is there with justice. As if on the other side of this whole conversation there were no real people. As if it were not talking about individual rights, guarantees, constitution. As if democratic law were not, essentially, the imposition of limits on state power, ”he writes in a critique of António Costa.
However, José Sócrates notes, a week later, with the Tancos process, “the situation is reversed: the first one decides to attack the prime minister saying that if he did not know it is serious and if he knew it is even more serious” .
“This statement can only be understood if one assumes that the defense minister knew that he is guilty. The attack on the prime minister may be political, but it is based on the previous judgment of the former defense minister. In fact, what he did was condemn without hearing the defense and without waiting for a judge's verdict. For his part, the indignant Prime Minister states the obvious – the statement ends a shameful public condemnation before any trial, ”says José Sócrates.
In the same article, he considers that the violation of the secrecy of justice "is a crime that the state reserves for itself".
“Here's what we became: in 2005, it was Freeport; in 2009, the tapping of Belém; In 2014, the Marquis operation, now it was Tancos, which followed the spectacular search and seizure operation in connection with a fire turtleneck competition and brought together two hundred police, several prosecutors and the usual judge. All of this, of course, properly covered by the televisions, warned in advance, ”he points out, to draw the following conclusion:“ This is it, and I don't think we need to draw a picture. ”