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Italia denies extradition of accused priest to Argentina

Rome, Jan 13 (Prensa Latina) Surprise and frustration prevail among human rights groups on Saturday, after Italian Minister of Justice Carlo Nordio opposed to extradite priest Franco Reverberi to Argentina, where he has been accused of crimes during the dictatorship.

According to an analysis published on Saturday on Il Manifesto’s website, Nordio’s stance against the transfer to Argentina of the former military chaplain of Italian origin, to be tried for crimes against humanity, is a shock, since a decision in that regard by the Court of Cassation seemed decisive.

Following a judicial process that has lasted 12 years, in July 2023 the Court of Appeal of the northern city of Bologna approved the extradition of the Italian-born priest, allegedly involved in the 1976 murder of Jose Guillermo Beron, a 22-year-old Peronist militant, as well as in acts of torture.

In October 2023, the Italian Court of Cassation rejected an appeal filed by Reverberi’s attorneys, and confirmed the decision of Bologna’s court, so that all that remained, in accordance with Italian law, was Nordio’s approval of the judicial decision.

However, what seemed a formality ended up paralyzing this process, since the minister deemed that given the advanced age of the religious man, 86 years old, and his alleged heart problems, his transfer to Argentina might have “fatal consequences,” according to the document.

During the Argentine military dictatorship, from 1976 to 1983, Reverberi was the chaplain of the 7th Explorers Squadron of San Rafael, in the city of Mendoza and, according to the accusation, he participated in tortures and crimes committed in the clandestine center known as Casa Departamental.