By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS, Aug 6 – A German man whom investigators suspect of murdering British toddler Madeleine McCann can be extradited to Germany on a separate rape charge after German authorities received the go-ahead from Italy for the extradition, 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.
His appeal came even though Germany had in 2018 obtained Italy’s agreement for his extradition to be prosecuted and tried for rape and extortion.
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 later sought guidance from the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
CJEU Advocate General Michal Bobek affirmed the procedures for extraditions.
German authorities are required to get the consent of the Italian authorities for the rape charge so that the former can carry out their proceedings lawfully, he 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. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; additional reporting by Marine Strauss)