Portuguese intellectuals celebrated the acquittal of the three women who have become known internationally as the "Three Marias" on Monday (13 May).
Portuguese intellectuals celebrated the acquittal of the three women who have become known internationally as the "Three Marias" on Monday (13 May). A demonstration in support of the three authors who were acquitted of obscenity charges earlier that day was organised by radical women outside the Presidential Palace in Lisbon, where the new army leaders are now ensconced.
"New Portuguese Letters" their controversial book, was banned under the regime of Prime Minister Marcello Caetano, who was ousted in last month's army coup. After the banning, the women, Maria Isabel Barreno, Maria Velho da Costa and Maria Teresa Horta were charged in court with offending public morality in connection with the book. It is an anthology of letters, poems and essays - comments on the condition of women - which the authors have always stated is intended to be erotic, but is not pornographic.
During the hearings, dozens of writers and intellectuals gave evidence supporting their claim. Their cause was also taken up by women's movements in several countries.
With the end of press censorship following the April coup, the acquittal of the three women was regarded as a foregone conclusion, but even before, the Court Prosecutor had said that he would ask for an acquittal.
Two of the authors were at the demonstration on Monday celebrating their freedom.
SYNOPSIS: Radical women gathered outside the Presidential Palace in Lisbon on Monday to celebrate the acquittal of the "Three Marias". The three Portuguese women authors became the focus of women's rights movement when they were put on trial under the former right wing regime in Portugal on obscenity charges.
The soldiers, who now carry flowers instead of guns, supervised the meeting. Since the army coup in April, there was little doubt that the "Three Marias" would be acquitted.
Their book, "Mew Portuguese Letters" was banned under the former rights wing regime and they were then taken to court, charged with offending pubic morality.
The book, an anthology of letters, poems and essays, comments on the condition of women. During the trial, the authors' case was the subject of demonstrations in several countries organised by women's movements in their support.
Dozens of writers and intellectuals gave evidence during the trial supporting the Marias' claim that their book was not pornographic. The authors had always stated that it was intended to be erotic, but was not pornographic.
Maria Isabel Sarreno is one of the three. They share the same Christian name, and are all in their thirties.