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'Innocent Otley man Fran Prenga must be freed from Greek jail'
11:00am Monday 8th October 2012 in News
An MP has demanded the immediate release of an innocent man from a Greek jail so he can begin to rebuild his life after five months in prison.
In a Greek courtroom two weeks ago, Fran Prenga was found not guilty of more than 70 charges of armed robbery in Athens between 2004 and 2005, while a conviction of unlawful possession of a weapon, made in his absence, was also quashed.
But Mr Prenga, from Otley, has still not been released from Amfissa Prison after “confusion and incompetence” within the Greek court system, made worse by workers’ strikes in the beleaguered country, has meant the relevant paperwork has not been processed.
His wife Louise and MP Greg Mulholland have been in contact with the Foreign Office and the Greek embassy in London to try to secure his release, while lawyers are threatening to sue the Greek authorities for their failure to free Mr Prenga.
Mr Mulholland, who represents Leeds North West, says the decision to keep Mr Prenga in jail is doing significant damage not only to his health and the wellbeing of his family, but also his plumbing business in Otley.
“The arrest and detention of Fran Prenga was a huge shock to his family, friends and those who knew him,” he said. “The judgement of the court should have brought to an immediate end to what has been a horrendous nightmare for him and his family.
“I have raised this again with the Minister for Europe as well as the Greek embassy in London in an attempt to bring about Fran’s release. To hold an innocent man for so long is disgraceful and is now causing further anguish for his friends and family.
“Fran has already languished in a Greek prison, in appalling conditions, for five months now. Having being cleared of all charges, Fran must now be released back to his family and friends and begin rebuilding his life with his wife and one-year-old daughter.”
Mr Mulholland says he has set up another meeting, with Foreign Office minister David Liddington MP, to help to secure Mr Prenga’s freedom.
Mr Prenga was arrested in Greece in May after attending a police station to fill in legal documents relating to possible investment in a restaurant.