The President of the Macau Lawyers Association (AAM), Jorge Neto Valente, told Business Daily that a joint complaint by the Association regarding abuse of power by police authorities is being “worked on” and will be sent to the government at the “appropriate time”.
Legal sources told Business Daily previously that there has been a recent increase in cases of Public Security Police Force (PSP) and Judiciary Police (PJ) officers denying lawyers access to or talk to their clients, or of blocking them from filing legal requests.
This increase in complaints led the AAM to send a release on May 4 requesting lawyers to send information of any witnessed cases of abuse of power or infringement of residents’ and non-residents’ rights to the AAM by May 16.
The AAM President told Business Daily some complaints were received after the release was sent, although not many “detailed complaints” had been received.
“This doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Lawyers are extremely busy and some of them are demoralised since they believe it doesn’t matter about filing a complaint since nothing will be done and that the security authorities don’t care,” Mr. Valente told Business Daily.
When questioned about the lawyers’ complaints the PSP told Business Daily that all its investigations are conducted according to the law.
“Every individual (including witnesses and suspects) has the right to get assistance from his/her lawyer in any process as well as any phase of the process. We will provide them with a space of privacy and ensure that they have reasonable time,” the PSP response informed.
Calling all people
The AAM President also said the Association advised “all citizens and not just lawyers” to complain in case of abuse of power by authorities, citing the recent increase in complaints received by the Security Forces Disciplinary Committee (CFD).
“Last year, there were almost 70 complaints against police authorities by residents and there will be more. The commission that did the report can only give recommendations and doesn’t have disciplinary powers; however, we do advise everyone to send complaints there, not just lawyers,” he said.
According to the CFD, of the 70 complaints of abuse of power and misconduct of the city’s security departments, 64 were against PSP officers, a 63 per cent year-on-year increase from the previous year.
The complaints received refer to ‘improper execution procedures, poor attitude, slowness in law enforcement procedures, denial of justice, misconduct, abuse of police power and misuse of force’ the CFD annual report indicated.