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Last Updated: Monday, 14 January 2008, 23:25 GMT
Call for review of Murat status
Jenny Murat
Robert Murat's mother says her son has been living in "limbo"

The mother of Robert Murat, a suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, has said it is time for her son's status to be reviewed.

Jenny Murat said police had not contacted him for six months and they wanted to get back on with their lives.

A judge is considering whether to extend the period of judicial secrecy covering police evidence against Mr Murat, who denies any involvement.

Madeleine, three, of Rothley, Leics, went missing in Portugal, last May.

She was days short of her fourth birthday when she vanished from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Algarve, on 3 May.

Under Portuguese law, case secrecy normally ends eight months after a person is named a suspect, but this can be extended.

I know I'm telling the truth. That night we were just sitting at the kitchen table talking
Jenny Murat

Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, have also been named as official suspects in the case.

They have also always denied any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance.

In an exclusive interview with the BBC's Ten O'Clock News, Mrs Murat called for police to look again at the status of her son.

She said: "Let us all get on with our nice, quiet lives that we had before."

Media ban

Asked whether her son believes his suspect status will be removed, she said: "I don't think Robert thinks about that, obviously he hopes it's going to be, but we just don't have a clue."

Mrs Murat has always maintained she was with her son on the night of Madeleine's disappearance.

She has spoken out on behalf of her son because, like the McCanns, as a suspect, he is prohibited from speaking to the press under Portuguese law.

She said: "There've been pictures of Robert all over the papers, and then open them up and basically it's saying nothing, but with a headline saying something that usually isn't true.

"I know I'm telling the truth. That night we were just sitting at the kitchen table talking for a very long time.

"People find that quite extraordinary, that we sit at the kitchen table, but we've always done that, we've always sat round the kitchen table and talked."

Deadline

Under Portuguese law someone can remain an official suspect without charge for as long as the investigation is continuing.

The eight-month deadline means that if the Portuguese prosecutor wants an extension to secrecy in the case, he or she must set out why they want more time and how long they need.

The lifting of restrictions of judicial secrecy surrounding the case would allow former property developer Mr Murat and the McCanns to see the files of evidence against them.

However, last week the Portuguese prosecutor applied to have the files kept secret, a request that the judge is likely to agree to.

Speaking from Praia da Luz, the BBC's Robert Hall said sources close to the case said the extension had been granted but that this had not been confirmed by the Portuguese authorities.

Our correspondent said that, if this was the case, the lawyers for Mr Murat and the McCanns could expect to hear formally by Tuesday morning.



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