Archive for July, 2019

Arrest of a suspect for the attempted murder of two GNR military personnel

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

The Judiciary Police, through the Center’s Board of Directors, in close collaboration and cooperation with the National Police Corps of Spain, identified the suspected perpetrators of two counts of attempted murder of two GNR Transit personnel of GNR Coimbra, that occurred on 15th June, in the Cernache – Coimbra area.

On 28th June resulting from international police cooperation, the suspect was found, questioned and detained in the city of Seville by members of the Homicide Investigation Brigade of Seville, of the National Police Corps of Spain

The Judiciary Police, in liaison with its counterparts, deployed a team from the Centre’s Board of Directors to Seville, in order to provide support and carry out various investigations.

From the evidentiary procedures carried out, it resulted in the seizure of relevant evidence in relation to the crimes in question.

The Portuguese judicial authorities have initiated legal proceedings, in particular the issuance of a European Arrest Warrant, in view of the extradition of the suspect to our country.

The suspect, 42 years old, is a Portuguese citizen and has criminal records related to particularly violent crime, both in Portugal and in Spain.

Funchal – Economic and financial crime – Operation “Pegasus”

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

The Judiciary Police, through the Department of Criminal Investigation of Funchal, with the collaboration of other units of the PJ, as part of an investigation conducted by the DIAP of Funchal, today conducted Operation “Pegasus”. This involved investigations for crimes of qualified fraud, forgery, tax fraud and money laundering.

The operation consisted of a number of domiciliary and non-domiciliary searches in Funchal, and a large number of evidentiary material were seized, including accounting documentation, devices and computer data, as well as cash.

Two individuals, responsible for a travel agency, were arrested, suspected of having falsely received documents and fictitious billing, and were able to receive improper travel reimbursements under the social mobility allowance in force in the Autonomous Region of Madeira. This caused losses to the public treasury, amounting to several hundred thousand euros.

This value, provisionally fixed by the investigation so far, following the evidence collected, will increase substantially.

During this operation, three more official suspected were made, suspected of involvement in this criminal activity.

The detainees, aged 46 and 28, will be present at the first judicial interrogation to apply the coercion measures considered appropriate.

Morrocan sentenced in Lisbon to 12 years for two terrorist crimes

Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

Criminal Court of Lisbon sentenced Abdesselam Tazi for crimes of recruitment and financing for terrorism. “I hope your god forgives you, because the court does not forgive you,” said the judge at the end of the sentence reading

Two years after being extradited from Germany to Portugal, Abdesselam Tazi was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for crimes of recruitment (three years) and financing (eight years) for terrorism, fake passport (one year) and credit card (five years). He was acquitted of crimes of membership of an international terrorist organization (the Islamic State), falsification of a document with a view to terrorism and use of a false document to finance terrorism.

At the end of the reading of the judgement, the judge was hard on the defendant of Moroccan origin: “I hope your god forgives you,” repeated the magistrate, “because the court does not forgive you.” This is the first conviction in Portugal for crimes linked to jihadist terrorism.

The presiding judge, Francisco Henriques, began reading the sentence to enumerate the facts that he considered proven and not proven. Of the most important crimes – related to terrorism – the first conclusion of the judge was that it has not been proven that Abdesselam Tazi has joined the Islamic State. “The direct link was not proven although there was evidence of a link between the accused and the Syrian organization, but there are doubts and as such he is acquitted,” he explained.

On recruitment, the court “had no doubt that the defendant was at the basis of the rectification of Hicham El Hanafi” and that “he tried to recruit three other Moroccan youths.” in relation to the financing, the judge found that the crime was not intended to “commit acts of terrorism but with the intention of proceeding with the reinstatement that was proven.”

Before closing the hearing, Judge Francisco Henriques addressed Abdesselam Tazi stating: “I know that you are a religious man, and so am I. I hope your god forgives you. Europe, taking advantage of the weaknesses of the system for what? To convince some kids to their convictions. He then asked: “How did a person so conservative practice these crimes, lived on the money of others? How did a person with his convictions live this way? On the one hand was rigid with the behaviour of women and then, with more things serious, did not mind defrauding people with credit cards to convince young people to go to Syria.”

The Moroccan still tried to claim innocence and repeat that he was the victim of revenge. But the judge did not allow him to continue. “Yes, yes, that will be seen later. It remains in pre-trial detention until this decision is final,” he said before concluding. “I hope your god forgives you,” repeated the magistrate, “because the court does not forgive you.”

Already the defence lawyer of Abdesselam Tazi, Lopes Guerreiro, was very surprised by the decision, “taking into account the evidence produced in judgment.” “He absolves himself from membership in the Islamic state, how is he convicted of retrenchment of three individuals? Recruiter for whom?” He questioned before moving forward that he will read the decision carefully and then appeal.

Brussels regrets lack of support for Portugal against the fires of 2017

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

The European Union regretted that it failed to provide any support to Portugal against the fires of October 2017, when Lisbon appealed desperately for help.

“One of the most painful situations in my life was to have no response to Portugal,” the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Crisis Management and Civil Protection, Christos Stylianides, told Portuguese journalists this Monday (8th July 2019) in Madrid, who described those “difficult times” between October 15 and 17, 2017, which killed 50 people and burned more than 50,000 hectares.

It is noteworthy that Portugal launched an appeal to Brussels on Sunday, October 15, for air support to the various fires in the centre and north of the country, but only on Wednesday, October 18, the first aircraft arrived.

The Cypriot commissioner said that he had telephoned each of the leaders with the protection of the Civil Protection of the countries of the European Union, but that some responded that they needed their resources in their own countries and that others admitted they had not mobilised them at that time. “My anguish at the responses of the other ministers, saying they had no air assets …,” he lamented.

Also in Madrid, where he explained the partnership of the Emergency Response Coordination Center (CEMR) with the Spanish authorities, Johannes Luchner, Director of the Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Office of the European Union (DG ECHO), – the congener European Commission of the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection (ANEPC) – assumed that “in 2017 we did not have enough means”. “I was not going to forget it,” he said.

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission (EC), lamented at the time the lack of solidarity with Portugal when it learned of the denials received by the then Minister of Internal Affairs, Constança Urbano de Sousa.

In a debate on the European Council in Strasbourg a week later, Juncker turned away from the main subject to address the Portuguese tragedy: “It is not normal that when a fire is declared on a Sunday morning in Portugal, we have to wait until Wednesday “We have to speed up the process.”

“It is obvious, necessary and basic that the European Union should come to the aid of those who are suffering. That is why I have commissioned Commissioner Stylianides to reflect, within a month, and in any case until the end of the year, on the in a new articulation of our civil protection mechanisms that are not working at a hundred percent, “he said.

By October 2017, Portugal had already dispensed part of its aerial fire-fighting facilities, some of them having terminated the contracts, others because the fires occurred when the device was no longer at a level that allegedly justified having aircraft ready.

The RescuEU system gained momentum not only with the fires in Portugal during 2017 but also with those that occurred in Greece in 2018, where 102 people died

The EU subsequently strengthened its response capacities through the following measures:

  • Establish, in collaboration with Member States, a common European reserve of capacities to respond to disasters. Such capacities would include firefighting planes, as well as other means to respond to situations such as medical emergencies or chemical biological radiological and nuclear incidents;
  • Co-finance the operational costs of rescEU capacities when used for the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism operations;
  • Co-finance the development of rescEU capacities;
  • Increase financial support for capacities registered in the European Civil Protection Pool, including for adaptation, repair, operational costs (inside the EU) and transport costs (outside the EU).

Summer as we know it has yet to arrive

Sunday, July 7th, 2019

It is true that summer as we knew is not the same so far this year.. And if in July you would expect warmer days, clear skies and no precipitation, weather forecasts show that will not be so in the coming days.

As of Tuesday 9th, however, the maximum temperatures will increase, between two to five degrees, from north to south, reaching 37 degrees in some areas of the country. But the weather will remain damp. An unusual scenario for this time of year, stresses the meteorologist of the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA) Ricardo Tavares, DN.

According to the IPMA forecasts, this weekend will still be a shower in some localities and cloudy in the coast of mainland Portugal. A scenario that may last until Monday, due to a “depression that will pass through the continent” on this day.

Until then, maximum temperatures should remain mild, ranging from 22 (Aveiro) to 30 (Bragança), and the minimum between 14 (Viseu) and 17 in almost all regions of mainland Portugal. On the islands, the maximum temperature will vary between 24 and 27 degrees, with precipitation recorded.

However, it is from Wednesday that will feel the heat throughout the continental region, with the maximum reaching 37 degrees in areas such as Castelo Branco and Santarém. Lisbon will reach 30 degrees, Porto at 29, Évora at 36 and Faro at 29. In the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, it should not exceed 26 degrees.

According to meteorologist Ricardo Tavares, these temperatures are “normal” for the height of the year, but not the humidity that has been felt in recent weeks and that should be prolonged in the next.

The municipalities of Mogadouro, in the district of Bragança, and Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo, in Guarda, present this Saturday a maximum risk of fire, according to the IPMA. There are also more than 50 municipalities in the districts of Faro, Santarém, Portalegre, Castelo Branco, Leiria, Viseu, Vila Real and Bragança at very high risk of fire.

The fire risk determined by the IPMA has five levels, ranging from reduced to maximum, being the third highest level. Calculations for this risk are obtained from air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and amount of precipitation in the last 24 hours.

Mainland Portugal and the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores also have a very high risk of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation during this weekend. Due to the very high risk of exposure to UV radiation throughout the country, the IPMA recommends the use of sunglasses with UV filter, hat, t-shirt, sun umbrella, sunscreen and prevent children from sun exposure.

 

Meeting of the National Commission for Civil Protection

Friday, July 5th, 2019

The National Commission for Civil Protection (CNPC), chaired by the Secretary of State for Civil Protection, José Artur Neves, met yesterday, July 4, 2019, at the headquarters of the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection (ANEPC).

The results of the meeting include the approval of a set of Civil Protection Emergency Plans, of different levels and typologies, which aim to contribute to a better preparation in the response to major accidents and disasters.

Within the scope of the National Strategy for Preventive Civil Protection (ENPCP), approved by the Council of Ministers on October 31, 2017, and with the aim of emphasizing the preventive aspect of civil protection as a determining factor for the constitution of a more resilient society, the regulation of the Prize for Recognition of Good Practices in Resilience Promotion was also approved, aiming to highlight the work carried out by the Municipalities and / or Parishes in this area.

In accordance with the operational objectives of ENPCP and considering the publication of Decree-Law no. 2/2019, of January 11, establishing the National System of Monitoring and Communication of Risk, Special Alert and Notice to the Population, were also approved two guiding Standards i) for the installation of standardized signs for the risk of tsunami and rupture of dams and ii) for the operation of warning systems to the population by sound signals, resulting from the work developed by ANEPC, in articulation with the Portuguese Agency Environment and the Directorate-General of the Maritime Authority.

The National Civil Protection Commission also took note of the update of the National Risk Assessment, prepared in accordance with the guidelines issued by the European Commission and in line with that recommended by Decision 1313/2013 / EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 of December 2013, which is assumed as a strategic document for risk management at the national level, contributing to the planning and organization of responses to major accidents and disasters. This Assessment takes into account the effects of climate change on risks.

The form for post-earthquake damage assessment in current buildings was also presented, which resulted from the joint effort of several entities that collaborated with ANEPC in the framework of the activities of the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

Secretary of State for Internal Administration and President Safe Communities Portugal sign protocol

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

The importance of the safety of the foreign community and overseas tourists was highlighted by the Minister for Internal Administration Eduardo Cabrita, during the presentation of the “Safe Summer” program held at the Regional Tourism Algarve (RTA) Faro Headquarters on 22nd June.

To reinforce this message, the Secretary of State for Internal Administration Isabel Oneto gave an overview of the Local Security Contracts (CLS) and highlighted the important work undertaken by Safe Communities Portugal (SCP) as part of this program. She stressed the importance of the community and the security forces working together in maintaining the Algarve as a safe destination.

A protocol was then signed by the Secretary of State and David Thomas President SCP outlining new initiatives regarding security in the Algarve which the two parties will develop over the next 12 months.

Following on from last year, Safe Communities has proposed a number of new initiatives which were agreed by the Ministry and incorporated into the new protocol.

These will include projects such as the development of crime prevention leaflets in additional languages to reach out to tourists through tourist information centres throughout the region. This will be reinforced by videos and several displays such as those held at Mar shopping and Faro Airport earlier.

There will also be a project to encourage people to report suspicious activities and crime as well as a project involve students understanding the work of the police.

David Thomas President of Safe Communities Portugal stated “I am very pleased to be able to sign this protocol at such an important event. We have consistently stressed the importance of everyone working together not only to help reduce crime, but also to convey important messages concerning to the prevention and protection of the population against rural fires as mentioned by the Minister”.

He added “We have been able to reflect the views of the foreign community to Government both concerning civil protection and security matters and it is encouraging that these views have been heard and acted upon, in developing projects that benefit both residents and tourists alike”.

Portugal: Five doctors among 11 detainees in investigation into health fraud

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

Eleven people, including five doctors and one pharmacy owner, were detained on Tuesday 2nd July by the Polícia Judiciária force, as part of a major operation launched early in the morning across the country, the PJ has revealed.

In a statement, the PJ said that the operation involved searches in doctors’ surgeries and health units, residences and other premises, and the fulfillment of arrest warrants related to “facts that may constitute … the crimes of corruption, serious fraud, documents forgery and criminal association.”

The suspected potential damages caused to the National Health Service (SNS), according to the PJ, is estimated at €1 million.

“At issue are several acts, consisting of the issuing of manual prescriptions, using the existing exceptions … which allow them to be 100% subsidised by the SNS, in addition to digital revenues, of very high values and with numerous units prescribed,” the PJ said.

According to the same statement, “drug prescription scenarios were created, not in line with the applicable legislation, which may imply the acceptance of advantages in forms liable to criminal responsibility, with the Portuguese state damaged, for the subsidising of medicines being misallocated.”

The operation was carried out by the PJ’s National Anti-Corruption Unit (UNCC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, as part of a drive to combat fraud to the SNS.

A total of 110 PJ inspectors were involved, along with various members of staff from the ministry and the organisation “Infarmed”, the medicines regulator. A total of 30 search warrants and 11 arrest warrants were issued.

The work is being monitored by three public prosecutors from Sintra’s Department of Investigation and Criminal Action (DIAP), in the presence of two judges from the Sintra circuit court.

The detainees – five doctors, one pharmacy owner, and five other people – are aged 40 to 79. They are to be brought before a judge for initial interrogation and the application of any remand or bail conditions.

 

Lack of operators at INEM reduce average 112 answer times in June.

Monday, July 1st, 2019

In June, the average number of calls made at the National Institute of Medical Emergency (INEM) skyrocketed. On certain days, there were periods when operators took, on average, six and eight minutes to answer the phones, when the recommended number is seven seconds. In the same month, almost ten thousand calls were lost and only half were recovered.

Internal data from INEM obtained by the Jornel de Noticais (JN) reveal many problems in the Urgent Patient Guidance Centers (CODU). First of all, serious shortages of human resources. Practically every day there are fewer pre-hospital emergency technicians (TEPHs) in service.

According to the information to which the JN had access, on June 21, Friday after the Corpo de Deus holiday, between 10.30 and 11.00, the operators took an average of six minutes to answer the calls transferred by the exchange 112. On the 24th, St. John’s Day in Porto, between 10.00 am and 10.30 am, the average time was eight minutes.

In response to the JN, INEM clarified that these are “service peaks”, “that represent exceptions to the punctual service which is the performance of the CODU”.

However, throughout the month, there are several examples that point to many difficulties. On day 2, the three CODUs (Porto, Coimbra and Lisbon) answered a total of 3465 calls, with an average service time of 217 seconds (3.6 minutes).

That day when there was less TEPHs at the service (64 when the average of the month is 70). On the same day 2, a total of 1716 calls were disconnected at the origin and the call-back system only retrieved 28% of the contacts. The next day, 1124 calls were lost and 25% were recovered.

Not all outgoing calls at the source are unresponsive emergencies. The INEM explains that some are to ask if the ambulance is delayed, others are turned off because the caller realizes that someone has already called INEM and there are also abusive uses.

Between 1 and 24 June, of the 89 215 calls answered, 9805 were turned off before the operator answered and only 49% were retrieved. About the remaining 51% no one knows the purpose they had.

It is claimed that with a deficit of more than 400 TEPHs, the coverage does not stretch. Professionals are lacking in CODU and in ambulances. As a result, call waiting times increase, thousands are lost in the middle, and the inoperability of the means grows.

The numbers are not surprising to the vice president of the Pre-Hospital Emergency Workers’ Union (STEPH). And July and August “will be worse, both at media level and at CODU level,” predicts Rui Lázaro.

July and August can worsen

INEM guarantees that in the CODU “the scales will be as complete as possible” and stated the recent authorization of the Government that allows workers to work up to 80% of their base remuneration.

Rui Lázaro is not so optimistic. The scales of this month already indicate problems. The CODU Norte has, on average, 15 scheduled operators per shift, when the minimum is 19, says the STEPH leader. Of those, it remains to be seen how many will actually be present because there are always unpredictable shortages and “last-minute changes to open up means that are inoperative.” It should be noted that the TEPH can work both in the CODU and in the INEM.

In the ambulances, the July scales are also lacking. The ambulance Porto 1 (in Rua de Faria Guimarães) “has already closed the night shift” and of the 62 planned, has 12 assured.

For Rui Lázaro, in addition to the shortage of TEPH, there is growing dissatisfaction among professionals with a recent schedule, which is increasing the unavailability of technicians to work overtime.