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European Court receives Berlusconi appeal

Ex-premier petitions Strasbourg to block expulsion from Senate

09 September, 17:35
European Court receives Berlusconi appeal

(ANSA) - Strasbourg, September 9 - The European Court of Human Rights on Monday received Silvio Berlusconi's faxed petition against his expulsion from the Italian Senate due to his definitive conviction for tax fraud last August.

The leader of Italy's centre-right risks losing his parliamentary seat under the terms of an Italian anti-corruption law approved in 2012, which bans anyone with a conviction like the three-time premier's from holding office for six years.

An Italian Senate panel on Monday began examining whether to remove the centre-right leader from the Upper House, and is expected to reach its conclusions shortly.

A full Senate vote would then be required to make the ban effective, but Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party (PdL) says it will not come to that if the centre-right Democratic Party (PD) votes against Berlusconi on the panel, because it would immediately pull out of the unprecedented left-right coalition government majority.

The PdL claims the law is being applied retroactively in Berlusconi's case, although it became effective before his definitive four-year conviction on August 1.

The PdL also says the law is against the Italian Constitution but the PD claims it isn't.

A European Court source said it generally takes at least three or four months to complete a first review of a petition, but that timing also depends on the complexity of the case.

The first step is the assessment of the petition's admissability.

Berlusconi asked that his appeal be given high priority.