Torture in  [Portugal]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Portugal]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Portugal]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Portugal]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                              

Portuguese Republic (Portugal)

Portugal has become a diversified and increasingly service-based economy since joining the European Community in 1986.

GDP per capita stands at roughly two-thirds of the EU-27 average. A poor educational system, in particular, has been an obstacle to greater productivity and growth.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]


Description: Description: Description: Portugal

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Portugal.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

Anti-torture committee publishes a report on Portugal

Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), Strasbourg, 27 February 2018

[accessed 27 February 2018]

During its 2016 periodic visit to the country, the CPT’s delegation received a considerable number of credible allegations of ill-treatment at the time of apprehension and during police custody.  The alleged ill-treatment consisted primarily of slaps, punches and kicks to the body and head as well as beatings with batons. The CPT concludes that the resort to ill-treatment, including for the purpose of obtaining confessions, is not infrequent.

The state of the world's human rights

Amnesty International AI, Annual Report 2013

[accessed 6 Feb 2014]


A criminal investigation into the use of a Taser against an inmate in Paços de Ferreira prison in 2010 did not progress despite the findings of an inquiry by the Audit and Inspection services of the General Directorate for prisons that two members of the Prison Security Intervention Group had used the weapon disproportionately. The outcome of disciplinary proceedings against the two prison officers remained pending at the end of the year.

The trial of three police officers accused of torturing Virgolino Borges in March 2000 while in police custody, which started in November 2011, made little progress.


In March, police reportedly used excessive force against peaceful demonstrators during anti-austerity protests. On 22 March, two journalists received medical treatment after allegedly being beaten by police at a demonstration in Lisbon.

In September, members of the Guarda Nacional Republicana reportedly used excessive force when attempting to arrest a man in a Romani community in Regalde, Vila Verde Municipality. At least nine Roma, including children, were allegedly beaten and physically and verbally abused by about 30 police officers; at least three needed medical treatment.

On 14 November, during a general strike, police reportedly charged peaceful demonstrators using batons. Some of those detained were reportedly not informed of the grounds for their detention and denied timely access to legal representation. The media reported 48 wounded.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture [PDF]

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/PRT/CO/4(2008)

[accessed 5 March 2013]

Prompt and impartial investigations and redress

12. The Committee is concerned that article 4 of Act No. 21/2000 of 10 August 2000 does not include torture among the 30 crimes listed in the Act for which the judicial police is solely responsible, since this could impede the initiation of prompt and impartial investigations of alleged cases of torture in the territory of the State party (arts. 12 and 14).

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 11 February 2013]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices; however, there were credible reports of disproportionate use of force by police and of mistreatment and other forms of abuse by prison guards against detainees.

During the year the IGAI investigated new reports of mistreatment and abuse by police and prison guards (see section 1.d.).

An internal prison inquiry into the beating of Albino Libânio in 2003 found that he had sustained multiple injuries from an assault that may have amounted to torture. A criminal investigation into the matter was pending, and disciplinary proceedings against several prison officers were ongoing.

In December a trial began of three police officers who were accused of assault in 1995.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 1   Civil Liberties: 1   Status: Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 11 February 2013]

The constitution provides for an independent court system. However, staff shortages and inefficiency have contributed to a considerable backlog of pending trials. Human rights groups have expressed concern about unlawful police shootings, deaths in police custody, and poor prison conditions. A Justice Ministry report released in 2005 cited a number of problems in the country’s prison system, including overcrowding, poor sanitary conditions, and high rates of HIV/AIDS among inmates. The prison population—as a percentage of the total population—is larger than the EU average.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Portugal",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Portugal]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Portugal]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Portugal]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Portugal]  [other countries]