Edinburgh charity worker David Brown freed after 13 years in Albanian prison over child sex abuse claims
A charity worker from Edinburgh has been freed after 13 years in an Albanian prison over allegations of child sex abuse which he claims were false.
David Brown 69, walked free from the 302 Mine Peza high security prison in Tirana on Friday, friends in Scotland said.
He was jailed in 2008 for 20 years, but his sentence was reduced for good behaviour.
Mr Brown’s supporters had hoped for his release before now after claims two boys who testified against him had been “bullied and bribed” into giving false evidence against him.
Andon Qoshlli and Denis Aliu spoke out in 2017 to say they had been pressured into making false statements by police and a psychologist.
Supporters of Mr Brown have continued to maintain his innocence and campaign for his release, and he reportedly chose to serve his sentence in Albania rather than the UK as he wanted to remain and continue trying to clear his name.
Mr Brown’s lawyer Gjystina Golloshi has now said he will be deported back to the UK, but will continue to try to clear his name in the Albanian courts.
It is understood he may return as soon as on Monday.
Mr Brown worked with children for 25 years in Scotland, and was a member of the Children’s Panel.
He travelled to Albania in 200 to help refugees fleeing war-torn Kosovo, and later set up an orphanage.
Ten boys, aged between four and 13, told police they had been sexually abused by one or more of three Britons at the orphanage in 2006.Previously convicted paedophile Dino Christodoulou, and Robin Arnold, were extradited from the UK and convicted.
Mike Taylor of the Edinburgh-based Scottish Children's mission has known Mr Brown for almost 30 years, and worked with him in Scotland in the past.
He said Mr Brown was “betrayed” ahead of his conviction.
“I'm amazed on a personal level that he has kept his faith despite all that has gone on,” he said.
Mr Taylor described his friend as “almost a Father Christmas type figure”.
"The children automatically responded to him,” he said.
“He has always worked with young people, for many years. He went out to Albania to set up a home - he saw the children on the street and he just wanted to provide a home for them, he saw the children abandoned and wanted to help them.
“I went across there when he first started, and I remember one of the boys saying to me that he owed David his life because he had rescued him from the street.”
Mr Taylor said he was pleased to hear news of the release, but he was unsure what Mr Brown’s future will hold.
“I’m relieved for him, absolutely,” he said.
"I'm just so glad he’s been able to be released but I also feel for him that he's not yet been able to clear his name, which is of course what he really wants to do.
“That's really why he stayed there, and didn’t get back to the UK, because he wants to clear his name. It just goes round and round the months and years with these court trials.”