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Human Rights Court rejects Berlusconi petition

Ex-premier wants to stand in European elections despite ban

08 April, 20:32
Human Rights Court rejects Berlusconi petition (ANSA) - Strasbourg, April 8 - The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday rejected a petition that would have obliged Italy to apply urgent measures to enable Silvio Berlusconi to stand in next month's European elections, ANSA sources said Tuesday.

The petition signed by MPs from Berlusconi's centre-right Forza Italia (FI) party and 3,900 citizens said banning their leader from running violates their right to free elections under the European human rights convention.

The media magnate became ineligible to stand for election or to vote in the May 25 poll following a binding conviction for tax fraud at his media empire last year. He was also ejected from the Italian Senate as a result.

The petitioners asked the ECHR to apply its Rule 39 on emergency interim measures to allow Berlusconi to run.

The court turned them down, saying Rule 39 applies only when there is an imminent risk of irreparable harm and is usually invoked by people in cases of expulsion or extradition to countries where they might be tortured.

Berlusconi is already appealing to the Strasbourg court against a six-year ban from office incurred under a 2012 anti-corruption law following the conviction.

Berlusconi claims the law was being applied retroactively, which violates the Italian Constitution.