The Portuguese Ombudsman points out the moral rehabilitation of the soldier João Ferreira de Almeida
The historical facts, as they are, can not be evaluated. They simply exist. However, what we can value is its moral dimension. And the judgement with meaning and historical perspective ― to which the balanced axiological dimension must be added, never forgetting the time and place in which they were practiced ― leads us to the valuation that comes to moral rehabilitation. At that moment, the people grow and nations are ennobled.
This was what happened with the moral rehabilitation of the soldier João Ferreira de Almeida, the last citizen sentenced to death by a Portuguese court on September 17th, 1917.In the year in which the national community celebrates the 150th anniversary of the abolition of the death penalty for civil crimes, it is important to remember that the road to complete elimination of the most inhuman punishment has been made with advances and setbacks of political and social circumstances of each historical moment. In fact, with the participation of Portugal in World War I, the death penalty was reintroduced in 1916 for some military crimes, representing, therefore, a retreat from the progress that had been made since 1867.
Therefore, the moral rehabilitation of the soldier João Ferreira de Almeida is a key point in order to remind ourselves, as a community, that the realization of a culture with respect for human rights, demands a constant and permanent daily effort from the present generations and we shouldn’t ever question the principles of humanism, democracy and justice.