The Union of Ukrainians in Portugal addressed an open letter to Portugal’s Prosecutor General, Mrs. Lucilia Gago, with a call to prevent politically motivated, false translations in criminal cases involving Ukrainian citizens.
The open letter cites a specific example of an inaccurate, politically influenced translation from Ukrainian to Portuguese, which completely changed the content of the Ukrainian citizen’s statement during the prosecutor’s indictment. These translation errors became the basis for opening a criminal case against the Ukrainian citizen.
“We have discovered that Russians or representatives of other nationalities who have a pronounced political position that justifies the invasion of the Russian Federation and aggression against Ukraine are involved in the translation of police and court documents and checks concerning citizens of Ukraine,” the Union’s statement reads.
“We demand reliable translations for Ukrainians,” emphasized Pavlo Sadokha, head of the Union of Ukrainians in Portugal, in an interview with noticiasaominuto.com.
The full text of the letter is below:
To the Prosecutor General of the Portuguese Republic
The Union of Ukrainians in Portugal is a non-profit public organization, the primary purpose of which is to advocate and protect the interests of Ukrainian immigrants in Portugal, as well as their social and professional integration, as well as take the necessary measures to prevent the actions or inaction of public or private organizations that undermine the rights of Ukrainians.
Since the beginning of the large-scale invasion of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine, the Union has intensified its activities in countering the hybrid war, the goal of which is a new genocide against Ukrainians.
In this context, the Union expresses great concern about how Portuguese law enforcement agencies appoint Ukrainian language translators and carry out translations of their content regarding citizens of Ukraine.
We have discovered that Russians or representatives of other nationalities with a prominent political position that justifies the invasion of the Russian Federation and aggression against Ukraine are involved in the translation of police and court acts and checks concerning citizens of Ukraine.
On the other hand, there are significant differences between the Russian and Ukrainian languages, so a Russian translator translating into Portuguese may need to understand the meaning and content of a statement in Ukrainian.
As an example, a Ukrainian citizen accused by the prosecutor’s office of the city of Braga in criminal proceedings P.1193/22.1JAPRT DIAP drew our attention and stated that the translation of his conversation (from Ukrainian to Portuguese) in the prosecutor’s indictment is distorted, which completely changes the meaning of the statements of the Ukrainian. The distortions in translation were the basis for opening a criminal case.
The Union is not a party to the process and needs reliable information about who translated the statements of Ukrainians in this process. However, intentional mistranslation to cause harm to the defendant constitutes or may constitute a criminal offense.
Also, as an example, we cite the case of the translator Olga Guedes, who, according to her Facebook page, was born in the USSR. Her Facebook page claims she works closely with the Portuguese Ministry of Internal Affairs and the courts as a translator. In his comments, Olga openly demonstrates his support for the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine and her pro-Putin political preferences. Some of her online comments are directly directed against the president of the Union of Ukrainians in Portugal, calling for him” to be dealt with” because of his pro-Ukrainian position.
Under such circumstances, she cannot and should not be allowed to work as a translator in police and court doings in which Ukrainian citizens are parties.
In this context, we appeal and ask Your Excellency, taking into account the seriousness of this issue, to take appropriate measures so that citizens of Ukraine have the right to an authentic translation of their declarations, namely the involvement of translators with due knowledge of Ukrainian language and expected level of support for Ukraine.
According to the Constitution of Ukraine, Ukrainian is the only state language in Ukraine.
Head of the Union of Ukrainians in Portugal,