German authorities did not follow the correct procedures when they extradited the prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann case, an adviser to Europe’s top court has said.
Christian B, who is being investigated over the child’s disappearance, had challenged his European arrest warrant issued over a separate 2005 rape charge.
The 43-year-old German was extradited from Italy to Germany two years ago under the warrant, and was later convicted of the rape of a 72-year-old American woman in Portugal.
His legal team challenged the validity of the extradition and a German court sought guidance from the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
In a non-binding opinion, the CJEU said German authorities should have got permission from Italy for the rape charge.
There will be a final verdict on his appeal at a later stage.
The rape took place in Praia da Luz – the same Portuguese resort where three-year-old Madeleine went missing two years later.
The toddler had been on holiday with her family when she vanished from her bedroom, sparking a search that has lasted more than a decade.
Earlier this year, Christian B – whose full name cannot be reported for legal reasons – was revealed as the prime suspect being investigated by a German prosecutor who believes Madeleine is dead.
He is currently serving a sentence for drug dealing in a prison in Kiel, north Germany.
But his jail term for the drugs offence ends in January and prosecutors fear he could disappear once released.
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