Sunday, September 30, 2007

Arabic adverts aid Madeleine hunt | World | The Observer

Arabic adverts aid Madeleine hunt | World | The Observer

At least some people continue to believe in the innocence of the McCanns. Richard Branson has come to the aid of the couple and another wealthy man is paying for their media consultant who has quit his job in order to give help and advise them. The McCanns have not given up hope that Madeleine is alive.

Richard Branson is right to point out that there are other similar cases where people have been wrongly accused of murder. The disappearance of this child and the Portuguese investigation bears similarities to the way in which the disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain was handled. In that case, an innocent woman was convicted of the murder of her daughter based upon circumstantial evidence that should have been laughed out of the courtroom (even to the untrained eye there was a lot of difficulty with evidence that was conveniently no longer available because the forensic laboratory technician wiped the plates clean). As it turned out the alleged blood turned out to be sound deadener. For this reason, when I heard of the alleged results in the McCann case I was wondering about the samples that were analyzed, because the match was not exact and in all likelihood the DNA could be that of her sister. Fortunately, the judge ruled that the evidence was not strong enough to lay charges against the McCanns.

This has not stopped the Portuguese press printing all sorts of lurid and wild stories about this case. The stories have been fed to the press by the Portuguese police. In the past, another woman whose daughter disappeared was convicted of her child's murder, despite the fact that a body has never been retrieved. It would seem that the Portuguese police do not seem to know how to mount a proper manhunt when children disappear.

What then is the likelihood that this other child is still alive too? What if that child has been kidnapped by a pedophile and taken to another country where she is being held captive? What if this is the same fate for little Madeleine? There have been kidnappings of this nature in Belgium and in Austria, why not in Portugal?

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