Germany should have sought Italy's okay to extradite McCann suspect, EU court adviser says

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – German authorities did not follow correct procedures when they extradited a German man from Italy for a rape charge whom investigators also suspect of murdering British toddler Madeleine McCann, an adviser to Europe’s top court said on Thursday.

Christian B, who lived in the Algarve region of Portugal when 3-year-old Madeleine vanished from her bedroom in 2007, had challenged the validity of the European arrest warrant issued by Germany because it cited a drugs conviction but not the 2005 rape charge.

The 43-year-old German was extradited to Germany from Italy under the warrant in 2018 and subsequently convicted and sentenced for the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old American woman in Portugal in December 2019.

A German court subsequently sought guidance from the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

German authorities were required to get the consent of the Italian authorities for the rape charge so that the former could carry out their proceedings lawfully, CJEU Advocate General Michal Bobek said in a non-binding opinion.

The Court, which will rule in the coming months, follows such non-binding recommendations in four out of five cases.

Christian B is currently serving a sentence for drug dealing in the prison in Kiel in the north of Germany but could be freed any day now as he has already served two-thirds of his sentence.

Under German law, police have not released the suspect’s surname and media in Germany are not permitted to report it, although it has appeared in some British outlets.

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