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Portugal has specific counterterrorism legislation, adopted in 2002. It is broad in ambit and does not have a carve-out for the exercise of fundamental human rights.

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

A terrorist act is defined in Law 52/2003, adopted in 2002, when committed by a terrorist group as follows:

Acts that aim at harming national integrity and independence, preventing, altering or subverting the functioning of the institutions of the State provided for in the Constitution, forcing the public authority to act, refrain from condeming the act, or tolerate it, or to intimidate certain persons or the general population by:

(a) crimes against the life, physical integrity or freedom of persons;

(b) crimes against the security of transport and communications;

(c) crimes of causing a danger to the public, through fire, explosion, release of radioactivity or toxic gases, flood or avalanche, contamination of food and water;

(d) acts impacting on means or routes of communication or public facilities;

(e) research and development of biological or chemical weapons;

(f) crimes involving use of firearms, biological or chemical or explosive devices;

where, by their nature or the context in which they are committed, such crimes are likely to seriously affect the State or the targeted population.Art. 2(1), 2002 Terrorism Law.

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties


Portugal is a State Party to all of the main United Nations treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Global Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1973 Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons State Party
1979 Hostage-Taking Convention State Party
1997 Terrorist Bombings Convention State Party
1999 Terrorist Financing Convention State Party
2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention State Party


Portugal is also a State Party to the main regional treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Regional Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1977 European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism State Party
2003 Protocol amending the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism State Party
2005 Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism State Party
2015 Additional Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism State Party

In adhering to the 1977 Convention, Portugal declared that it would not grant extradition for offences punishable in the requesting State with either the death penalty, life imprisonment, or a detention order involving deprivation of liberty for life.

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

The general penalty for terrorist acts is imprisonment for between two and ten years.Art. 4(1), 2002 Terrorism Law.Should the predicate criminal offences be especially serious, the maximum penalty for those offences is increased by one third.Art. 4(1), 2002 Terrorism Law.

Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies at Domestic Level

Portugal has a dedicated counterterrorism unit in its national police, the Grupo de Operações Especiais (GOE).


Portugal Terrorism Law (original text)

Portugal Terrorism Law (unofficial English translation)

Constitution of Portugal (English translation)