ROME (AP) — A Rome court has rejected a request by Venezuela to extradite its former oil czar to face corruption charges, citing the country’s record in violating human rights. The Italian lawyer for Rafael Ramirez says the Court of Appeals recognized that he needs international protection. Ramirez is the longtime head of Venezuela’s PDVSA state oil company. He fled to Italy after falling out with President Nicolas Maduro and resigning as Venezuela’s U.N. ambassador in 2017. Soon thereafter, Venezuela’s chief prosecutor ordered his arrest on charges of bankrupting the country’s primary source of income. Ramirez has called the Venezuelan probe retaliation for his decision to break with Maduro, who he has accused of running Venezuela’s once-thriving oil industry into the ground.
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