Strasbourg, December 4 – The European Court of Human Rights has asked the Italian government to assess whether keeping Marcello Dell’Utri in jail is a violation of his rights due to his poor health. The request was made during the conveying to Rome of documents related to an appeal filed in Strasbourg on December 20, 2014, by Dell’Utri. Dell’Utri, a former right-hand man of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, is not entitled to early release because of the gravity of the mafia-related crimes he was convicted of, Italy’s highest court ruled in October. External collaboration in mafia association is a crime excluded from those where early release can be granted, the court said. Dell’Utri is serving seven years for colluding with the mafia in Palermo. The 76-year-old former close aide to three-time ex-premier and media mogul Berlusconi and co-founder of Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party was convicted in 2014 of acting as an ambassador between the centre-right group and the Cosa Nostra Mafia in his native Sicily. He was extradited from Beirut to serve his sentence. Dell’Utri is also the former head of the media magnate’s advertising arm and is credited with creating the media mogul’s Forza Italia party in 1993, six months before it swept to victory in general elections. In addressing the Strasbourg court, Dell’Utri said he had been convicted on the basis of a law that came into force after he committed the crimes he was convicted of. He added that the charges against him were vague and imprecise.