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France asks Italy to pardon ex-Red Brigades member

Latest update : 2008-07-09

President Nicolas Sarkozy asked Italy to pardon Marina Patrella, convicted by an Italian court in 1992 of murder, kidnapping, and other crimes while a member of the Red Brigades. Exiled in France, Petrella is awaiting extradition to Italy.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Tuesday he had asked Italy to pardon Marina Petrella, a former member of the Red Brigades who is awaiting extradition from France to Italy.
Petrella was convicted by an Italian court in 1992 of murder, kidnapping, attempted kidnapping and armed robbery and was arrested in France in August 2007 following a request from Italy. A French court in December approved her extradition.
"I have asked the Italian prime minister to request from the president of the Italian republic that he grant her a pardon in light of how long ago she was convicted and of her health and psychological condition," Sarkozy told a news conference at the G8 summit in Japan.
"For me, it would be a humanitarian gesture," he said, adding that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had agreed to transmit the request for a pardon to President Giorgio Napolitano.
The Red Brigades carried out a campaign of violence in Italy during what were known as the "years of lead" in the 1970s, culminating in the kidnap and murder of former Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978.
Many former members of the Red Brigades took refuge in France during the 1980s, when then President Francois Mitterrand refused to extradite left-wing radicals who had renounced violence. Sarkozy disagrees with Mitterrand's old policy.
"We could lay this matter to rest (with a pardon), with France respecting Italian law and French court decisions while at the same time remaining true to its tradition of protecting human rights by requesting a pardon," Sarkozy said.
Before she was arrested, Petrella lived in France as a free woman for many years, settling down with a new partner with whom she had a child.
She has given media interviews from detention in France in which she has complained of poor health and depression.

Date created : 2008-07-08