Sunday, 24 May 2009

Ten European Union countries Join Forces For International Day For Missing Children.


116 000.jpg

Tomorrow, 10 out of 27 countries will have activated 116000.

From tomorrow, Monday, with support from France, the number of European countries which have already adopted and put the European line for missing children into service, becomes 10, with 116000 the free, dedicated phone number planned for receiving urgent calls in cases of disappearance. Portugal was the second country after Hungary, to apply a European Union directive that dates from 2002, but which is still not respected by the 17 remaining member countries, amongst them the United Kingdom, the country with the greatest number of disappearances.

Simultaneously, in the ten counties - Portugal, Belgium, Greece, The Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and France, a campaign of publicity and awareness starts tomorrow to raise awareness of the possibilities of the service: through 116000 the parents of a missing child can file a report, the public can more easily offer information and the missing child himself can ask for help.

The new campaign of awareness, which in Portugal is the responsibility of the Instituto de Apoio à Criança (Help For Children Institute) coincides with the International Day For Missing Children and is officially launched tomorrow at the Gulbenkian* in the presence of the Minister for Internal Administration and the Head of the National Representation for the European Union.

Operational 24 hours a day, the number is free and the calls are received by trained professionals, belonging to governmental organisations - in Portugal the service is represented by the Intituto de Apoio à Criança (Help For Children Institute) - which works at a national and international level with police and judicial bodies.

The most recent case of missing children in Europe - including the media case of Madeleine McCann - have led the European Institutions to insist that the 17 remaining members adopt the service as a matter of urgency. Based on the European strategy for the Rights of The Child, the European Commission introduced the 116000 number in February 2007 as the European phone number for missing children, a decision finalised by a directive, indicating to member States the line to follow for the emergency service to be adopted throughout the European Union.

Duarte Levy

Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência: The Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC) was founded and is supported by the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (FCG) to carry on biomedical research and education. The IGC operates as a "host institution", offering excellent facilities and services to foreign and Portuguese research groups or individual scientists, in particular to young post-doctoral fellows who are expected to develop their projects and form their groups in complete autonomy.)

Madeleine McCann - the new suspect wasn't in Praia da Luz and he has an alibi.


Raymond Hewlett, a British man aged 64, named yesterday as being the new suspect in Madeleine McCann's disappearance, "wasn't in Praia da Luz," on May 3rd 2007 and, "has an alibi," which witnesses have confirmed with the police.
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Information confirmed today by a PJ officer, adding that the English team of investigators who were sent to Portugal immediately following Maddie's disappearance, "ruled the individual out as a suspect for various reason, his profile amongst other things," this same officer told 24 Horas, indicating that "all known cases involving the supposed suspect concern young people and not children of Madeleine's age.

Yesterday, Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for Kate and Gerry McCann, admitted that the couple were aware of suspicions regarding the individual, but he stressed that the British man, whose identity has been revealed by the media, is only, "a person of interest in the investigation," which two ex-police officers are in the process of carrying out in this case.

The British man - who lived in Portugal, but mostly in Tavira, for a few years - is currently in hospital in Germany, but he told an English newspaper that on the day of Maddie's disappearance he was at a fair* in Fuzeta. Contacted by 24 Horas, the Fuzeta town council confirmed that there are two fairs a month whose dates tally with the suspect's statements: the monthly fair that is held on the first Thursday of each month and which, in May was held on Thursday May 3rd, the day of the disappearance, and the second-hand fair that is on the first Sunday of each month.

In 2007, the vendors were not obliged to identify themselves to the fair organisers, an omission rectified this year by the town council. The employee who handles contact with the vendors is still the same, but the PJ have not questioned him. 24 Horas tried to contact him, but he is on leave.

The disclosure of this new suspect - who does not match any of the descriptions given up to the present time, by witnesses to the supposed abduction - was done following the accusation by an English couple, Alan and Cindy Thompson, who personally knew Raymond and his history, but had never contacted the police. The two ex-police officers, who replaced the Metodo 3 Spaniards - described by relatives of the McCanns as incompetent and very expensive - continue to insist that the little girl was not kidnapped by any paedophile ring or taken away by boat.

Duarte Levy (Also in 24 Horas)

* In Portugal, in general, the fair takes place once a month and is only clothing, in contrast to the food market which is every day.