Senior Maddie cop in witness abuse probe

Senior Maddie cop in witness abuse probe
11 September 2007
Evening Herald

Leandro Silva and Leonor Cipriano

As the Portuguese press continued to round on the McCanns, newspaper columns remained silent on a separate investigation into the police officer leading the hunt for Madeleine.

Goncalo Amaral -- head of the Policia Judiciara's investigation -- has been charged over the alleged assault of a woman whose daughter disappeared in similar circumstances to Madeleine three years ago.

Earlier this year, Mr Amaral and four colleagues were made suspects (arguidos) in the beating of Leonor Cipriano during an interrogation following the disappearance of her daughter Joana, who vanished from a village seven miles from Praia da Luz.

Joana's mother and uncle were convicted of murdering and dismembering her after she discovered them having an incestuous relationship. However, Mrs Cipriano claimed she was beaten up in custody under the watch of Mr Amaral and accused the police of setting her up. She has produced graphic photos of her face after interrogation which showed bruising around her eyes.

In June, Mr Amaral and his colleagues were charged, three with torture, a fourth with omission of evidence and a fifth with falsification of documents. It is unclear which offence he was charged with.

Police sources in Portimao, where the Maddie hunt is based, refused to comment yesterday.

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