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World News

McCann suspect may face more jail time after EU court ruling

FILE PHOTO: A general view shows the entrance to the "Justizvollzugsanstalt Kiel" prison in Kiel, Germany, June 4, 2020. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A German man whom investigators suspect of murdering British toddler Madeleine McCann and currently jailed for drug dealing may face more prison time after Europe’s top court retroactively cleared his extradition to Germany for a rape charge.

There had been concerns that Christian B., who is seeking parole, may disappear once he has served his sentence for drug dealing in a prison in Kiel in the north of Germany.

The 43-year-old German, who lived in the Algarve region of Portugal when 3-year-old Madeleine vanished from her bedroom in 2007, had disputed the validity of the European arrest warrant issued by Germany when he was in Italy because it cited a drugs conviction but not the 2005 rape charge.

The man challenged the warrant even though Germany had in 2018 obtained Italy’s agreement for his extradition to be prosecuted and tried for rape and extortion.

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

The CJEU on Thursday confirmed the procedures for extraditions, which Germany had complied with.

“A measure involving deprivation of liberty taken against a person referred to in a first European Arrest Warrant (EAW) on the basis of a prior offence different from the one which justified his surrender under a second EAW is not contrary to EU law if that person’s departure from the Member State that issued the first EAW was voluntary,” judges said.

“In that context, consent must be given by the executing authorities of the member state which surrendered the prosecuted person on the basis of the second EAW,” they said.

The case is C-195/20 PPU Generalbundesanwalt beim Bundesgerichtshof v XC.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, Editing by William Maclean

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