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French court grants bail to former Red Brigades member

Latest update : 2008-10-12

A French appeals court has ordered the release on bail of Marina Petrella, a convicted former member of the Red Brigades facing extradition to Italy, after her family and doctors voiced serious concerns about her health.

A French court on Tuesday granted bail to a convicted Red Brigades member facing extradition to Italy, after her family and doctors voiced serious concerns about her health.
Marina Petrella, 54, is currently held under 24-hour police surveillance in a psychiatric hospital ward in Paris, where according to her doctors she has "given up on life" since the French government agreed in June to extradite her.
The court ruling handed down in Versailles, west of Paris, will allow her to receive hospital treatment without a police guard.
It does not suspend the extradition procedure against her.
The mother-of-two was sentenced in absentia to life in jail by a court in Rome in 1992 for killing a police officer and seriously wounding his driver.
Petrella settled in France in the early 1990s under an offer of asylum extended to former leftist militants by then Socialist president Francois Mitterrand, provided they renounced their stance. She was arrested last August.
According to her doctor Jean-Francois Bloch-Laine, she weighs only 39 kilos (86 pounds) and is considered suicidal.
President Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed his backing for the extradition procedure last month, while calling for Italy to show clemency towards her.
But the office of Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has ruled out any automatic pardon.
The Red Brigades, a Marxist-Leninist group formed in the 1970s, sought to create a revolutionary state through armed struggle. Among their most notorious actions was the kidnap and murder of Italy's former prime minister Aldo Moro.

Date created : 2008-08-05