Man wanted for brutal double murder in Greece objects to fingerprint expert

Greek police say Ledjon Brakaj had tortured the owner of a souvenir business and her nephew, before setting them on fire and burning them to death

Ledjon Brakaj escorted out of court
Ledjon Brakaj escorted out of court

Lawyers for an Albanian man resisting extradition to Greece, over a horrific double homicide, have called for the removal of a report compiled by a Greek fingerprint expert on the grounds that an outdated method was used to analyse the prints.

36-year-old Ledjon Brakaj was arrested in Malta last month and remanded in custody after a European Arrest Warrant in his name was issued by the Greek authorities.

Brakaj is wanted to face criminal proceedings over the gruesome double murder of the owner of a souvenir business and her nephew on the Greek island of Aegina in 2015.

Reports say that the body of Irini Marmarino had been found dead alongside that of her nephew, Lambros Protonotarios, inside her home. Both victims had been tortured before they were killed, with the autopsy concluding that the two victims had been beaten so ferociously that they had suffered crushing fractures all over their bodies, and that they had been set on fire whilst they were still breathing.

During the man’s arraignment, police Inspectors Kurt Ryan Farrugia and Robinson Mifsud told the court that the accused had been apprehended after his fingerprints were found to match those sent by the authorities in Greece. 

But in an application filed this morning by lawyers Franco Debono, Marion Camilleri and Francesca Zarb, it was argued that there was no documentation in the acts which showed how the prints had been taken, by whom or how long ago they had been taken. The latter issue raised Human Rights questions relating to the “indiscriminate retention” of fingerprint data, which practise had been declared in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights in the 2020 case of Gaughran vs. The United Kingdom.

Another factor seized on by the lawyers was that the Greek expert’s report had stated that the man’s prints had been classified using the Henry System, a technique developed in 1896, through which fingerprints are sorted by physiological characteristics for one-to-many searching.

“Not only is the system archaic, but in the expert’s report he does not indicate in any way how the comparative analysis took place, or the modus operandi or techniques used to reach his conclusions,” argued the lawyers.

In view of this, the defence requested the court order the expunging from the acts of the case of all documents related to the taking and analysis of Brakaj’s fingerprints.