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Parents of Briton jailed in India for smuggling cannabis appeal for government to help

A MOTHER fighting for her son to be freed from an Indian jail has called on Foreign Secretary David Miliband to intervene.

Teresa Malluzzo’s son Patrick, 32, has so far served nearly six years of a 10-year prison sentence for smuggling cannabis.

His family believe he is innocent and their campaign to get him released has suffered a series of setbacks with 12 appeal hearing dates cancelled in the last three months.

Mrs Malluzzo, of Upper Heath Lane, Dartford, said: “All we want is Patrick’s case to be heard.

“We are asking Mr Miliband to help us by making representations to the Indian authorities.

“I’m asking this as a mum. While everyone is preparing to celebrate Christmas we can’t.

“Our family is incomplete, please help to bring my son home.”

The 61-year-old added: “In September there was great hope his appeal would be heard.

“Now it’s got to be started all over again.”

Patrick is not allowed to speak to his parents over the phone and their only contact is via letter.

In a letter to Amnesty International, Patrick said he had been deprived of sleep, beaten with sticks and burned with cigarettes while in prison.

He said he only confessed to his crime when pliers were placed on his testicles.

To pay for legal fees and travel costs his parents were forced to sell their home two years ago.

They turned to charity Fair Trials International for help in getting an appeal hearing for Patrick.

The charity’s chief executive, Jago Russell, said: “We think the thing that will make a real difference is if this case is raised at the highest levels by British government ministers, by the Foreign Secretary to ensure that the Indian authorities realise that this is a case of grave concern for the British government.”

A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We have raised the delay of the appeal with the Indian authorities on several occasions in the past but no response has been received.

“The British High Commission in New Delhi wrote to the Ministry of External Affairs in March and August 2009 and sent a further letter on October 29 highlighting the length of time the appeal is taking to be brought to court and requesting that it be concluded without delay.

“We continue to raise Patrick’s case with the appropriate Indian authorities however we are restricted in the representations we can make as we cannot interfere in the Indian judicial process.”

By David Mills

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