A poor Italian sod living in Portugal has decided to change his name after the police keep bothering him. Signor Al Guido, who works for an Italian export company, has:
Been interviewed by the police 4 times in a week.
Had his house searched.
Had his garage torn apart.
Had a media scrum stationed outside his house for weeks.
"Mama mia", the stereotype exclaimed. "I have done nothing wrong and nobody is accusing me of anything. But everyone treats me like I am an official suspect."
At that point, a Portuguese judge intervened and stopped the interview.
Under Portuguese law, if the police suspect someone of something but can't be arsed arresting him, they can "declare him an arguido", which means "pariah" in their lingo. A large letter "A" is tattooed to his forehead, he is not allowed to talk to anyone and anyone caught talking to him, other than a journalist, becomes an "arguido" too. An arguido isn't allowed to leave the country where he lives, which means that if a tourist becomes an arguido and gives his address as his hotel, he can't leave the country.
"It's great for the tourist industry", said a member of the local Chamber of Commerce. "When sales are slow, the police just declare a bunch of foreigners arguidos, and they have to remain in Portugal for 8 months!"
Mr. Guido will go through a name-changing ceremony tomorrow, when he is expected to change his name to Robert Murat.