In connection with the abduction of a British girl in Portugal, the British press seem mystified by Portuguese criminal law. The BBC even has a video (and text) on the topic.
The man, believed to be Robert Murat, who shares a villa with his mother in
Praia da Luz, Algarve, was initially treated as a witness and not arrested or charged.
But now he has been given “arguido” status, which means he is officially a suspect.
…Artur Rego, a Portuguese lawyer, told BBC News: “Arguido is the person who has been accused of being the perpetrator.
“But he is not yet indicted. This is just an accusation made exactly at the end of the investigation.”
It sounds to me like Angeschuldigter and not yet Angeklagter.
Apparently the person involved can ask to be classified as an arguido, in order to obtain more rights than a mere witness.
In view of the circumstances, the suggestions in Webster’s Online Dictionary (often surprisingly useful) seem to go too far. Since the dictionary is largely based on searching, the presence of quotes like ‘Ma looked in astonishment at the bar of iron’ in the at the bar entry (accused, defendant, prisoner at the bar) are not in the same class as kalebeul’s quote on the French term home-jacking.
LATER NOTE: Here is more (OPINION OF THE COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, MR. ALVARO GIL-ROBLES, on the procedural safeguards surrounding the authorisation of pre-trial detention in Portugal):
A number of special features result from this system. There is, firstly, no conceptual separation between an investigation, conducted by the police, and a criminal enquiry conducted by a prosecution service. There is, equally, no division of competences between the investigation and the prosecution, both functions being fulfilled by the Public Prosecution Service, which is entirely independent from the executive and other State bodies. Lastly, information obtained in the course of the investigation led by the Public Prosecution Service (the inquérito, enquiry) remains, as a general rule, confidential, i.e. withheld from all parties except the judges involved, until such time as a formal accusation is made. This is procedural feature is referred to as the segredo de justiça, the confidentiality of the enquiry.