Founder of a Portuguese leak platform subject to gagging order

By EDRi · November 18, 2015

Rui Cruz is 28 years old and is the founder of Tugaleaks, a Portuguese Wikileaks-inspired website. He has been working on the website on his free time since December 2010, gathering exclusive articles about the security flaws of government and private company websites, publishing public-but-undisclosed documents, and making available data on security information about Portugal, among other subjects of interest not related to technology. Tugaleaks is the only website mentioned in the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) World Factbook for Portugal – in the “political pressure groups and leaders” section.

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In February 2015 Rui was detained and faced charges for “giving support” to hackers by “publishing news”. Some might just think that this is digital journalism, but the public prosecutor considered it a crime. Rui has been subject to a gagging order for eight months and unable to access the Internet, as this was a mandatory coercive measure. As Tugaleaks is based online, he is also unable to publish new content.

To make things worse, Rui was laid off from his day job in a company that is part of PT Comunicações Group, one of the largest communications companies in Portugal. Rui says that the company justified his dismissal by stating that he could not engage with any Internet-related work. Rui now does not have a job, awaiting the end of the coercive measure. Eight months is the maximum time a coercive measure that could be put in place. However, judges could renew the same measure over and over, if they think it’s necessary.

The local media organisations are kept quiet about the situation. Rui says that this is because Tugaleaks was considered to be a “renegade” media organisation because of the style and type of publications which frequently embarrassed the Government and public institutions.

Freedom of expression and the right to choose a job are constitutional rights under the Portuguese Constitution. Rui and his lawyer believe both rights have been violated for eight months by the justice institutions in Portugal without any regard for the quality of life and the “innocent until proven guilty” principle.

Rui is now looking for any solidarity in sharing his story on social media. This is the most important time to spread the message, as he could soon be free from this coercive measure and start rebuilding his life, if sufficient media attention and citizen solidarity is shown. He is also struggling to pay the fees of his lawyer from Jaime Roriz Advogados. Rui accepts donations at:
IBAN PT50 0033 0000 4542 2460 7280 5
Owner: Rui Diogo Morais da Cruz


CIA, The Word Factbook: Portugal

Tugaleaks founder detained for (alleged) cyber attacks to Lisbon’s Public Prosecutor’s Office (only in Portuguese, 26.02.2015)

TugaLeaks founder: fired and prevented from accessing the Internet (only in Portuguese, 02.03.2015)

(Contribution by Rui Cruz, Tugaleaks, Portugal and submitted by his lawyer Carla Guimarães (Jaime Roriz Advogados))