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Evening News in bid to free man from Brazilian jail

The Cambridge Evening News is throwing its weight behind a fight to free Craig Alden who has been jailed without a fair trial in Brazil.

Craig, (26), left his home near Huntingdon to found an orphanage for abandoned street children close to the South American country’s capital, 17 years ago.

But in 2002, the campaigner found himself behind bars when a judge sentenced him to 48 years imprisonment for abusing youngsters at the home he ran near Brasilia. The sentence was later reduced to 12 years on appeal.

Since the court case Craig’s parents, Maureen and Brian Alden, have become the centre of an international campaign to free their son.

Maureen, (62), who recently appealed for help from British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, and Prime Minister Tony Blair, claims her son is innocent and was wrongly imprisoned. She says he faced trumped-up charges after upsetting local authorities.

Her view is supported by a top lawyer – and the Cambridge Evening News.

His conviction is “completely unsafe” and a “grave miscarriage of justice has been done,” according to judge and barrister Jeremy Richardson QC, a member of the Foreign Office Pro Bono Panel, who conducted an independent investigation into Craig’s case.

Murray Morse, editor of the Cambridge Evening News, is urging readers to sign a petition calling for Craig to be freed which will be sent on to the British authorities.

He said: “We are fully convinced of Craig’s innocence and will do anything in our power to help set him free.

“We have been in talks with his family and the Foreign Office, who are in constant contact with him.

“We will keep Craig’s plight in the public arena and put pressure on the Brazilian Government to free Craig at the earliest opportunity. This campaign will simply not go away.”

Craig, who recently launched a hunger strike faces at least another seven years in his three square metre Brazilian cage where he has been segregated for his own safety.