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France will not extradite Petrella, former Red Brigade member

Latest update : 2008-10-14

Marina Petrella, a former member of the Italian Red Brigades, will not be extradited from France to Italy, where she was convicted for her part in the killing of a police officer, the French presidency announced, citing Petrella's poor health.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has decided not to extradite former Italian Red Brigades member Marina Petrella to her native country, where she was convicted in the murder of a police officer, his office said Sunday.
Sarkozy, citing the 54-year-old woman's fragile health, decided not to send her to Italy under a humanitarian clause in the France-Italy extradition agreement, his office said in a statement.
"Despite the attentive care Mrs. Petrella enjoys at the Sainte-Anne Hospital, her state of health has not improved," the presidency said, adding that doctors concluded that her deep depression put her life at risk.
Sarkozy decided for that reason to retract an extradition authorisation that was issued by the government in June, the statement said
"This individual measure was taken in consideration of Mrs. Petrella's health situation alone," the statement said. "It does not lessen France's engagement in the fight against terrorism and its cooperation with other democracies in this area."
Petrella's attorney, Irene Terrel, said the woman wept as she was told about the decision on Saturday at the Paris hospital where she has been staying since being released on bail in August.
Petrella, whose mental and physical health began to deteriorate a year ago, was arrested in the Val d'Oise region near Paris, in August 2007.
She was sentenced in absentia to life in prison in 1992 for being an accomplice in the killing of a police officer in Rome.
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.
The Red Brigades (Brigate Rosse in Italian), 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 : 2008-10-12