For the past 26 months and 1 week, I have been stuck in a living hell. Why? My husband Mark was arrested in Crete, Greece, on the 16th of September 2010 and has been languishing in prison ever since.
Mark and his younger brother Andreas spent 16 months in pre-trial detention before being convicted, in January 2012, of being a member of and armed gang that committed 7 armed robberies of jewellers in Crete during the summer of 2010. Both brothers were sentenced to 18 years in prison. Since the day of my husband’s arrest, the case against him has been riddled by inconsistencies and just plain illogical accusations that are completely unsupported by any evidence.
Mark’s defence included social welfare records, wage slips, legal affidavits, flight tickets and passport stamps from Ireland, all of which proved irrefutably that he was in Ireland when they said crimes took place. The prosecutor claimed the Irish documents were falsified, a claim accepted by the judge without investigation.
The fact that Irish state and legal documents such as social welfare sign-on sheets and legal affidavits can summarily be dismissed as forgeries in a Greek Court of law should excite the interest of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of Social Protection. We are asking the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs to authenticate the documentation and to strongly express our concerns, as an Irish family, regarding the violation of my husbands human rights, to the Greek Government and the European Parliament.
In January 2012, Mark’s defence submitted an appeal to the three-member Criminal Court of Appeals of Eastern Crete, judgment no. 10/2012. The date for the appeal has yet to be confirmed.
The aim of our campaign is to ensure at the appeal the Cretan Court is aware of the outside interest in this case, that my husband is not “just an Albanian” and that if the court acts outside the law again the Irish, Albanian and EU authorities will be watching.
To try put into words the devastation this miscarriage of justice has caused is simply too big of an ask. As Mark’s wife, my life will never be the same again. This has destroyed any semblance of our life prior to the 16th of September 2010. I have lost our home, our business, my chance to start a family, my health, at times my sanity but most importantly I have lost my best friend, my husband. Yes he is still alive, though most of the time it feels like he isn’t, yet I cannot move on with my life in any way, shape or form. The limbo is soul destroying with the expectation that you “should just get on with it“. I – and my family – have been demonised as criminals, along with my husband, who has been deprived of his liberty, dignity and any reason to exist.
To read more about our story, please visit www.justiceformarkandandreas.com . Please support our fight for justice for my family by signing our petition and by contacting your TD and MEP.
Julie Marku 26.5.2012 @freemarku