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Dad’s Greek jail hell could continue into following year
3:00pm Sunday 19th August 2012 in Local news
The father of a young daughter could be forced to languish in a Greek jail until at least next year, according to an MP fighting to secure his release.
Fran Prenga, 34, from Otley, was arrested in May on suspicion of carrying out armed robberies in Athens in 2004 and 2005. But it is unclear whether he has yet been charged or even formally interviewed.
His wife, Louise, has been regularly flying to Greece in an attempt to get some answers and to try to prove his innocence with documents she says show Mr Prenga could not have committed the crimes and is a victim of mistaken identity.
She has also enlisted the help of Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland. He organised a meeting with Foreign Office minister, David Liddington, to try to secure support from the Government, and has now written to the public prosecutor in Greece pleading for bail for Mr Prenga.
But Mr Mulholland says he fears his constituent, who is originally from Albania and has been a British citizen since 2008, could be forced to remain in prison until 2013 amid concerns a trial will be put back until then following several more arrests in relation to the armed robberies.
The MP said: “The news the trial could now potentially be put back to next year – considering how long Fran has already been behind bars – is absolutely appalling.
“This is desperate news for Fran and for Louise, and I have written directly asking for him to be allowed bail.
“We believe Fran is innocent and this is a case of mistaken identity, in which case it is wrong that he continues to languish in a foreign prison.”
The MP also revealed Mrs Prenga is considering moving to Greece to visit her husband, who missed the first birthday of their daughter, Maria, earlier this year due to his detention.
He added: “Louise is now facing the prospect of moving to Greece in order to visit her husband as she just cannot afford to continue to fly back and forth.
“These developments are deeply concerning, and I will continue to work alongside Louise to do everything possible to bring about a resolution to this case.”
Mr Prenga, who runs a plumbing and bathroom installation business, was arrested by the Greek authorities after attending a police station to fill in legal documents relating to a possible investment in a restaurant.