The Portuguese army on Thursday (26 February) permanently closed the damp and gloomy medieval fortress prison of Penuche.
GV Members of press entering prison
SV PAN DOWN Tower TO Sign on door at main entrance
SV INTERIOR Prison cells with newsmen being shown around (2 shots)
SV ZOOM OUT FROM Prison compound OVER TO Sea
GV PAN FROM Passing ships TO Newsmen on top of prison wall
GV Helicopter arrives and lands in porions yard
GV Troops and police escorting prisoners to helicopter (2 shots)
GV Helicopter takes off
Initials CL/1750 CL/1805
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Background: The Portuguese army on Thursday (26 February) permanently closed the damp and gloomy medieval fortress prison of Penuche.
The last few prisoners -- former secret police under the old right-wing dictatorship -- were flown from Penuche by helicopter to the country's newest top security prison at Alcoentre.
It was under the secret police that Penuche gained its grim reputation. The prison's best known inmate was Communist party Secretary-General Alvaro Cuhal, who escaped in 1960 after more than a decaded behind bars. More than half that time was spent in solitary confinement. Senhor Cunhal is today once more secretary-general of the Communist party.
Penuche is on a seaside promontory about 70 miles (116 kms) north of Lisbon.
In the past few months, the government has been gradually releasing the 1,500 political prisoners detained since the 1974 coup overthrew the dictatorship.
Among those release on Thursday were Major Jose Emilio Da Silvia, education minister for a few months under the pro-Communist prime Minister Vasco Goncalves last year. He was held on suspicion of involvement in las November's unsuccessful left-wing military realign.
Also freed was Lieutenant-Colonel Alexandre Dias De Lima, a leading aide of ex-President Antonio De Spinola, who field the country after an unsuccessful right-wing coup in March last year.