The military dictatorship which ruled Portugal for forty eight years came to an end with a military coup in April 1974 making way for the establishment of a democracy.

For forty eight years, Portugal was ruled by an iron dictatorship.

The change that has come about in Portugal is indicative of the fact that 'Seven Days' was allowed to film at Peniche prison where the tables have turned and the prison officers have become the prisoners. 

Countless political prisoners were housed at Peniche over the years where the PIDE, the Portuguese Secret Police, carried out interrogations and tortures. 

There are now 180 political prisoners housed in the prison. However, there has been a reversal of fortunes with some of those who once conducted the torture and interrogations now prisoners. To add to this, some of the many men who were prisoners here now hold high office in the new Portuguese government. 

Álvaro Cunhal, Secretary General of the Portuguese Communist Party, spent eight of his fourteen years in prison at Peniche before escaping to France. He is now a minister in the new Portuguese government. Mr Cunhal speaks about the communist struggle in Portugal under António de Oliveira Salazar.

It is a fact that our party experienced years of struggling hardship. The total number of years spent in prison by members of the central committee of our party amounted to 150 years. Some members of the communist party lived up to thirty years on the run in the interior of the country.

The prison cells were formerly occupied by political prisoners who were mainly members of the outlawed communist and socialist parties. They are now home to the members of the PIDE. 

Maria da Graça, who was a member of the communist party, describes what life was like as a member of a secret organisation. However, she is still reluctant to reveal the full story saying,

This clandestine life of the party is not yet completely open because it's not yet sure the position in Portugal.

This episode of 'Seven Days' was broadcast on 22 October 1974. The reporter is Nick Coffey.