Grâce à la liberté dans les communications, des groupes d’hommes de même nature pourront se réunir et fonder des communautés. Les nations seront dépassées.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Fragments posthumes XIII-883)

07 - AOÛ 16 - A. Ribeiro/D. Econ/El Mundo

Interview de Alípio Ribeiro au Diário Económico et à El Mundo
16.08.2007



How much has Maddie McCann’s case investigation cost so far?

We don’t have numbers. We don’t make that accountability for this type of investigation. We invest the necessary means in each moment. Sometimes more, sometimes less, according to the moment of the investigation.

When will the results of the analyses that were performed on the collected blood be made public?

We don’t have a specific day and that depends, as you know, on the labs. They may take 7, 10 or 12 days. That depends on the quality of the collected residues. We may as well receive inconclusive results. I may be here talking to you, and in two hours I may come to know the results. At this moment, we have no results yet.

What’s the next step after the results?
The next step depends on the results. On what the results point to.

For example, if it’s Madeleine’s blood, what will happen?
We will see. We have to function according to those results. It’s evident that we are not going to report on what we are going to do, at the moment. The results are important in order to configure the scenario we’re going to have, and according to those we will later determine what are the more adequate procedures.
How many agents are involved in this investigation?

I don’t want to be redundant, we have the means that are necessary at each moment. I am saying this for a reason that I think is understandable. An investigation of this type is not about the involvement of a great number of people. This is not a case of persecution, of street, of assault, of arresting a bandit that involves a lot of police forces. In this case, we have pure investigation. All we need is people who think the problems out well. And under that aspect, we’ve had everyone. It’s obvious that in the first stages, when there were searches, there was a lot more people than now. But there are always people available, if necessary, to develop those investigations. If we need more people. I would always say that Poirot acted alone, and he was effective. It’s not an issue of numbers. At this moment, it’s not even an issue of means.

In this case, has PJ had people who think well?
I hope so. I think so. It’s been obvious since the beginning that this is not a simple case. It’s manifestly complex. And it’s been asumed as such. (...)
Are you ready for a failure?

It’s obvious that the word failure cannot be used in this case. The police must be optimistic and I believe that work that is serious, effective and systematic, will lead to results sooner or later. The issue is not failure of results, it’s failure of procedures. If tomorrow I discover that the procedures were not good, then we have a failure. I’m optimistic…
Do you believe you’ll find the child?
I’m optimistic that we will understand what happened.
How optimistic?
I’m optimistic that we may find [Maddie], I am.
Very optimistic?
Optimistic. These things always have a personal aspect. There are more optimistic persons, but it’s obvious with police work, that if you’re not optimistic and you don’t have the courage to advance, we’ll give up too early. There are cases that are rapidly solved, others are really complex, and this is a complex case.

It is known that two specks of blood were found in the apartment. Where were they exactly?
I am not going to speak about that. It’s been made public that some residues were found. But I’m not telling you where, the law does not allow me to. And that is the secret that is important to the investigation. Those are elements that will be valued in due time. According to the result of the analyses.

Are Madeleine’s parents suspects?
They were never constituted arguidos, and they’ve never been suspects. We don’t use that language of speaking of suspects, because if we direct an investigation against someone, we must constitute those persons as arguidos. Those are the rules.
And why weren’t they informed that the possibility of death has become the priority?
They have been informed. It must be said that an investigation like this one has all slots always open. I mean, we don’t close this one to open that one. We work on a net of possibilities. New possibilities appear and the investigation is always dynamic, because reality is also dynamic. And we follow the dynamics of reality, but we don’t close compartments. We must focus more attention here and there. We keep excellent relations with the parents, it could not be otherwise.

But the PJ’s spokesman, Olegario Sousa, said the hypothesis of death has intensified.

It’s a hypothesis, which is understandable to everyone. But I cannot dialogue with the parents. It’s a possibility, there is always a possibility. We’re not saying she’s dead. It’s a possibility we have to work on. It’s on the table and we must analyze it.
Does Policia Judiciaria have an idea where Maddie is?
 No.
Is Robert Murat the suspect?
Yes, because he was constituted an arguido at a given moment. The investigation was directed.

Is he no longer a suspect?
That cannot be said. As long as the inquiry on him is not closed, he is an arguido. The most important thing for us, today, is to have exact results. To combine that with other elements. There is an issue that is the continuous re-evaluation of everything that was said, because we must evaluate, in the dynamics of the investigation, the past with the present. What we read from the past, may be completely different from what we read today. There are new elements that bring another focus and another light.
Were there contradictions in the statements?
We will see. The contradictions themselves are not very valuable. They must always be evaluated in certain moments, so we can see their relevance. I myself may say one thing today, another thing tomorrow, but those are issues, aren’t they…
Il botte en touche, la question est donc gênante. Mais il est surprenant qu'il affirme que les contradictions en général n'ont guère de valeur.
The question is: it would be totally unjustified that I as the director of Policia Judiciaria, or the police as an institution, would live off rumors and would support rumors. We don’t do that, we should not do it, and we cannot.
Il faudrait choisir : la police ne répand pas de rumeurs, ne devrait pas le faire ou ne peut pas le faire ?
The idea I have is this: determination, rigor and above all, serenity. We will see, because reality is always more surprising than imagination – I read this somewhere – but the truth is I’m optimistic and I should be optimistic. We need that, and that is what we work for, to clarify a situation that is difficult. Especially when we don’t have an objective motive. There could be a motive of money, of revenge, of jealousy, of hatred, but we don’t have one. I hope some day we can discuss that issue here. My optimism is indeed visceral, but that’s mainly because I’ve been around for so many years.
There has been criticism of the Judiciaria. Has the media pressure conditioned the investigation?
I think all these situations have high and low moments (…) But we should not let that ascending and descending curve influence us, when those phenomena are seen from the outside. (…) It’s obvious that people would like there was the possibility of an open, transparent investigation, where everyone knew what is going on, but legally that is not possible. And really it’s not convenient. That would be disastrous to the investigation. We always have a lot of people producing opinions on this matter.
Là encore il ne répond pas à la question.
Did that (la production d'opinions proablement) affect the image of Judiciaria at any moment?
I don’t think so, I don’t think so. People understand that the work that is done demands for safety. It’s a safe, rigorous and, above all thing, serene work.
But there are many policemen telling things to journalists, which are then published. Is there an intention behind the information that has leaked?
The idea I have is that occasionally there are some information leaks that would be important they would not exist. But that’s a human factor we have to deal with, and until this moment it has not harmed the investigation.
Did information leaks help the investigation?
They did not help either.
Was there never an intention to direct the investigation?
No. In this investigation, we never leaked information in order to produce certain results.
Are we close to the end of this investigation?
In these situations we should level our expectations low. We must keep in mind this is not easy, because we still have a long way to go, and it would be foolish if I said we’re close to the end of this investigation.
Will it be possible to point to a culprit?
We’re working for that.
What support did PJ have from portuguese and english governments, and from the english police?
We have had full cooperation from the english police, since day one. And we need that cooperation, as many of the people who surround this process are english. We also have been recognized as having an excellent collaboration. We don’t hide anything from those who should know about these things. We’ve hidden some things from the journalists, naturally.
Did PJ receive pressure from the english government, from the english embassy in Portugal, from the family, or from anyone else, in order to follow the kidnapping theory that existed before the death theory?
No. I never received any indication from whomever about that issue. The english police never exercised any kind of influence on the portuguese police (…) And I never received from anyone, or from the british ambassador, any indication that this is the way this is, or it should be done that way. And the same applies to the english police. We always discussed with british police what we were doing wrong. Please tells us what we are doing wrong, here. And they never actually told us you’re doing this or that wrong. The relationship has been excellent, and a good example of cooperation between both states.
It was published that the ambassador of England in Portugal called you and asked you to investigate the kidnapping. How did that happen?
There is a basic issue in this investigation: we don’t work on speculations. (...) We’re in the domain of fantasy and romance. The ambassador didn’t even phone me. I talked to him on the following day, for the first time.
Mythe donc. comme il semblait évident.
Does PJ have the means it needs to do their job?
Yes. This type of investigation is mainly an investigation in which the human factor is utterly important. It’s obvious that there are aspects in which some foreign polices have more experience in certain areas. If you tell me the spanish police is more experienced in dealing with terrorism, I have no doubts about that. It’s natural.
Is there a memory of such police involvement as we see being applied on the Maddie case?
I don’t think so.
A huge mediatism was generated. Why?
You’ll have to ask your colleagues. These are foreigners spending vacations in Portugal and because of that it has an international dimension. Maybe that is the case, and not really because this is the ‘silly season’. To say that would be in rather bad taste.
The english press accuses PJ of being at the same point as in the beginning of the investigation. Is that the case?
We are not at the same point.
What is the PJ’s success rate in these cases?
Our success rate in these cases is high. If we look at it from the abduction point of view, there are not many abductions is Portugal. We have many family abductions, of a father who takes the child away from the mother, to hide him. We have those situations. Not even those are very frequent in Portugal. Because we’re a small country, because there’s few of us, because we’re a parish and we’re very close to each other. For that reason and no other.
Does that confirm information that the data will be compared to the entire english population at Praia da Luz or at the Ocean Club, where the family was staying?
No. That is not possible. England, in terms of DNA data bases, is the most advanced country. They own a very complete database. We don’t have one, and neither does Spain. But we don’t imagine that comparison with all the english citizens.
Does that information indicate that the suspects could be british and not portuguese?
We don’t distinguish between nationalities. That could lead to xenophobe judgments. I’m not going that way.