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Family of jailed backpacker hopeful of imminent release

PUBLISHED: 11:36 01 October 2009 | UPDATED: 17:13 25 August 2010

Patrick Malluzzo

Patrick Malluzzo

THE devastated family of a backpacker jailed in India for drug trafficking are praying he is freed at an appeal next week. Patrick Malluzzo, 32, of Upper Heath Lane, Dartford, who has always protested his innocence, has spent more than half of a 10-yea

KB4698-03
Dartford
24.05.07
St Anselms Church, West Hill, Dartford. Salvatorie and Teresa Malluzzo's son Patrick has been falsely jailed in India for carrying drugs. The Dartford couple are pictured at their church.

THE devastated family of a backpacker jailed in India for drug trafficking are praying he is freed at an appeal next week.

Patrick Malluzzo, 32, of Upper Heath Lane, Dartford, who has always protested his innocence, has spent more than half of a 10-year sentence behind bars.

According to his frustrated parents, appeal dates have regularly been put back, with his last chance to plead his case cancelled in mid-September.

Confidence, however, is at an all-time high and they believe that if and when the trial goes to court, the former St Columba Catholic School for Boys, Bexleyheath student will be coming home soon. His mother Teresa, 63, said: "It really floors you when an appeal hearing gets cancelled but you have to keeping going - all you can do is pray.

"His lawyers are pretty confident that if it is heard he has a very good chance of being freed and thinking about that helps you."

His devoted father Salvatore, 63 was preparing to make the arduous trip to the sub-continent as the Times went to press.

It is a journey he has made numerous times since Mr Malluzzo was arrested in January 2004 when cannabis was found on a train in a bag next to his the previous November.

A ticket booked in his name was found by police, but the former banker claims it must have been placed there by an associate he spent a short time travelling with.

Despite everything she has gone through and having a son detained by the Indian authorities, Mrs Malluzzo bears no ill feeling to the country.

"There are a number of local people who have been great supporters of Patrick and he would have really struggled without them," she said.

"There is a local pastor who visits him every 15 days without fail. He promised he would years ago and hasn't reneged on that. Two local brothers have also been great supporters after reading about his story and they are continually doing all they can."

The Malluzzo family are being supported by legal charity Fair Trials International. His caseworker, Wafa Shah, said: "Since August 2006, the Indian High court has repeatedly delayed hearing Patrick's appeal.

"Despite having very strong grounds for appealing his conviction, he has now served nearly half of his original sentence in an Indian prison. Justice for Patrick is long overdue.

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