The Portuguese people have long been complaining against a justice system which sees the high and mighty committing crimes involving billions of escudos but are never called to appear before a court of law – or if they are, they are released without charge. Now there is a new trend to discredit the police force (if a policeman shoots a criminal, even caught in the criminal act, he may serve a prison sentence) and sentences against infractors are becoming more and more lenient. In rural areas of Portugal, the populations have been known to take justice into their own hands. A mentally retarded individual who raped and killed a small girl in a village in the north of the country recently was tied to a tree, hanged and his body burnt with petrol. When the police investigated, the villagers all said they knew nothing about the incident. Lynchings of this kind are not common, but are frequent in Portugal, due to a justice system which does not adjust to the times. For example, an 18-year-old man captured and tortured two boys aged 11. He strung them up in a disused building, tied their arms with wire, poured petrol over them and told them he was going to set fire to them. They were burnt with cigarette ends, punched and kicked. They were then forced to lie on the floor while a bicycle and a motorised bicycle were driven over them. Fortunately, the actions of this pervert stopped there and did not pass the threshold of threat. However, two happy, extroverted little boys have been turned into nervous zombies after this attack. Their families say they have never been the same since (not surprisingly). The result was three years of prison, suspended. This means that the perpetrator of this crime walks free, ready to perform the same act with other innocent children. With the news that tens of children disappear daily from Lisbon to be sold into sexual exploitation rings, the news that popular lynchings are on the rise surprises nobody.
TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.RU LISBON
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