Case Studies

Pedro Godhino: Beyond surrender


A European Arrest Warrant was issued by Spain for the arrest of Pedro Godhino, a Portuguese national, who was a suspect and wanted for questioning in a money laundering and fraud case. He has been in pre-trial detention in Spain for more than one year and could remain there for another three as his case makes its way to court or is finally dropped. In Portugal, where he is from and suspected of involvement in the same crime, the maximum period of pre-trial detention is one year.

Pedro’s detention has been difficult for his family, especially for his wife Patrícia Jales, who takes the bus from Portugal to visit him in Spain almost every weekend. They face problems also with legal representation, since Pedro’s lawyer in Portugal can only speak for a few minutes each week by phone because the calls are very expensive.

“Since a year ago, when Pedro was arrested, I found myself alone confronting the whole set-up of our life, including the lawyers in Spain and Portugal. I travel every week,” his wife,  Patrícia, said. “During one year, I’ve only missed three times, three weeks where I haven’t gone to see him. Because I obviously have to see him. He is staying a long way from home, without being able to talk to us properly.”

“Every week I take the bus in Lisbon at 9:30 or 10 in the evening, I arrive in Madrid at 5:30 in the morning. I wait until one o’clock in the afternoon until I can go and see him, just through a glass screen. We talk for 40 minutes and then Pedro goes away. I get out and leave my husband once again in Madrid. I take the bus again at ten at night and go back to Lisbon where I arrive at six in the morning on Monday.”

Patrícia told how she and her family miss Pedro: “I go back to work, I go back to sorting out the lawyers, I go back to missing him, to really missing him in our lives – lived every day without him.”

“Normal people with families are suffering because of this madness of pre-trial detention, where you are paying a sentence without having been tried. We are paying very a high price for it. They call it ‘a dungeon’ where my husband is staying. Therefore, I think this is something truly medieval and criminal. They’re destroying my family. And it’s just based on guesswork, right? He still hasn’t been tried, so he should not be able to stay in pre-trial detention for a year.”