herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

Family call for release of Irish citizen detained in Morocco

IT worker Franck Mananga
IT worker Franck Mananga

The family of an Irish citizen detained in Mor- occo for nearly two weeks on heavily-contested false passport allegations have appealed for his release.

Father-of-three Franck Mananga (30), an IT threat research analyst from Kilbarrack, had travelled alone to Casablanca for a holiday on March 28 and was supposed to return on April 4.

However, his family became concerned when he did not come home and had not been in contact with them.

"He never came back," said his brother, Chris Amour.

"We started to get worried because he wasn't on social media and Franck is the type of person who would always be on WhatsApp to let us know where he is."

Mr Mananga's family became seriously concerned when they contacted his employer, Webroot, who confirmed he had been due to return to work but had not shown up.

"On the Saturday, April 9, his partner finally managed to get through to him," said Chris.

"He said he had got into trouble at the airport and was due to go to court."

Mr Mananga said Mor- occan authorities were accusing his brother of travelling on a false passport.

Ridiculous

They believe there was a notice on Interpol for his arrest and that he was wanted in Portugal for an unspecified crime.

His family have said the allegation is ridiculous.

"His passport is 100pc genuine. He's been a naturalised Irish citizen for the last five years, originally from Congo," said Chris.

"He is always travelling on that passport for work and was recently in the US."

He said his brother, who has a newborn baby here, was forced to sign some documentation in Arabic that he did not understand and that he requested a lawyer but was denied.

He added that he was due to appear in court yesterday, but police said they misplaced his file and it would take a week for a new hearing.

"It will be three weeks that he is detained without charge and we are not even clear on why they are holding him," said Chris.

"There's no evidence other than this suspicion."

A statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs said it was aware of the case and was providing consular assistance to Mr Mananga's family. There was no response to questions addressed to the Moroccan embassy in Dublin.

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