The prime suspect in the case of Madeleine McCann has demanded he be freed from prison in an appeal against a rape conviction, it has been reported.
The lawyers of Christian Brueckner, a convicted pedophile suspected of murdering Madeleine more than 10 years ago, told a panel of five judges at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg his rape verdict should now be overturned.
The 43-year-old suspect was convicted and sentenced to seven years in jail for raping an American woman in Portugal in 2005 and is now reportedly being investigated over the disappearances of other children as well as Madeleine.
His defence team argued that putting him on trial for rape is a breach of international law as it was not the crime he was extradited for from Portugal three years ago, reported The Mirror. Brueckner was extradited to Germany on the basis of a drugs conviction, but was then put on trial for the rape of the 72-year-old woman, which his lawyers claim make the arrest warrant invalid.
Prosecutor Hans-Christian Wolters believes Bruckner is responsible for Madeleine’s disappearance but fears his appeal will be successful and he would flee, leaving authorities unable to interrogate him further.
Mr Wolters said earlier this week: “Of course we want to keep our suspect behind bars, so we can interrogate him immediately under indictment. But there is no point endlessly stretching the investigation. One day we will have to bring an end to it.”
The judges are expected to release their verdict over the technical issue in the coming weeks.
On Wednesday, The Times reported that Brueckner is refusing to answer questions at this time on the advice of his defence team. His lawyers said prosecutors must have evidence he was involved in her disappearance.