Italian Justice Minister Carlo Nordio has rejected the extradition request to Argentina of Catholic priest Don Franco Reverberi, a decision initially approved by the Court of Cassation. The priest, who belongs to the Diocese of Parma, is accused of committing various crimes in Argentina during the 1976-1983 civilian-military dictatorship. These include the 1976 murder of 20-year-old Josè Guillermo Beron, who is still missing.
Jorge Ithurburu, a Basque-Argentine based in Italy who has been campaigning for justice through the non-profit organisation ‘24 March’, revealed that Don Reverberi will not be handed over to the Argentine authorities for trial. Ithurburu has been working for years to ensure accountability for the actions of those involved in the ‘Guerra sucia’ regime and to secure justice for the many Italo-Argentines who were killed or disappeared during the dictatorship.
Don Reverberi is accused of having witnessed numerous acts of torture inflicted on prisoners under the Videla regime before their eventual execution and disappearance. Last October, the Italian Court of Cassation upheld the decision of the Bologna Court of Appeal, endorsing the arguments put forward by Arturo Salerni, the lawyer representing the Argentine Embassy in Italy. The appeal against extradition lodged by the priest’s defence was rejected.
Minister Nordio, who had 45 days to confirm or reject the decision, finally decided to refuse the extradition. At the age of 87, Don Reverberi, like other people accused of active participation in crimes during the Cono Sur dictatorships – such as Carlos Malatto, Daniel Cherutti and Jorge Troccoli – had moved to Italy many years ago and, thanks to his double passport, had lived there undisturbed for a long time.
On the cover photo, monument to the Victims of State Terrorism, detained, disappeared and murdered in the military dictatorship perpetrated by the State in the period 1969-1983, Buenos Aires, Argentina ©yaninaamira/Shutterstock.com