Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

WEB NEWS

Israel and Hamas battle online over public opinion

Read more

FOCUS

Can Chancellor Merkel's winning streak last?

Read more

FOCUS

Hunger in a fertile land...

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting (part 2)

Read more

  • Air Algerie ‘lost contact’ with flight leaving Burkina Faso

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death arrives in Italy

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • In pictures: Thousands march for Gaza peace in Paris

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • France charges Swiss bank UBS with tax fraud

    Read more

  • Israel faces heightened diplomatic pressure as Gaza violence rages

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

  • Bomb attacks leave scores dead in north Nigeria

    Read more

  • Netherlands holds day of mourning for victims of flight MH17

    Read more

  • Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down over rebel-held territory

    Read more

Americas

Brazil's Lula spares Italian fugitive on last day in office

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-12-31

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (pictured) has turned down a request by Italy to extradite convicted former militant Cesare Battisti, braving Rome's wrath on the last day of his historic presidency.

AFP - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Friday turned down an extradition demand for an Italian ex-militant, Cesare Battisti, considered a "terrorist" by Rome for murders committed in the 1970s.

The decision, announced by Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, came on Lula's last day in office, and in the wake of warnings from Italy that it would see such a move as "unacceptable."

"The president today took the decision to not agree to the extradition of Italian citizen Cesare Battisti on the basis of a report by the attorney general," Amorim told reporters.

"This type of judgement does not constitute an affront from one country to another," he said, reading from an official statement.

Battisti, 56, has spent three decades on the run in France, Mexico and finally Brazil, where he has been in jail since 2007 pending the result of the Italian extradition request.

Lula's government last year tried to declare Battisti a refugee, prompting Rome to withdrew its ambassador in protest, but Brazil's Supreme Court overturned that designation as illegal.

It said a bilateral extradition treaty should apply, but that Lula would have to make a final decision.

Battisti, who made a new career as a crime novelist while living in France, has said he is innocent of the murder charges against him, and claims he is the victim of "political" persecution in Italy.

On Thursday, Italy warned a refusal to extradite Battisti would be "absolutely incomprehensible and unacceptable."

Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa said he would back "boycott initiatives" against Brazil, and called a refusal by Lula "a huge wound in bilateral relations."

Italy has reacted angrily to suggestions Battisti faced persecution if extradited.

Rome considers Battisti a "terrorist" for his membership in the Armed Proletariat for Communism, a radical and armed left-wing group that killed several people in the 1970s.

He was found guilty in absentia for the group's 1978-1979 murders of a prison guard, a special investigator of terrorist organizations, a butcher and a jeweler, and in 1993 was sentenced to life in prison.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has vowed to "leave no stone unturned to obtain Battisti's extradition."

Battisti's life on the run from Italian authorities has taken him across several countries and seen him start a new career as a writer.

Initially jailed in Italy in 1981 on charges of belonging to an armed group, Battisti escaped that same year and fled to France then Mexico.

When France adopted a law giving refuge to repentant militants, he returned to that country and started a new career as a successful crime novelist.

Following Italy's murder conviction against him and France's decision to no longer protect him, he fled to Brazil in 2004 with the help of sympathizers -- among them, he said, French intelligence agents.

In 2007, Battisti was arrested in Rio de Janeiro and transferred to the Brasilia jail.

Lula's decision leaves a diplomatic headache for his successor, Dilma Rousseff, who takes over from Saturday.

But there was little chance of her going back on Lula's decision.

A former Marxist militant who joined Lula's Workers Party, Rousseff herself spent two years being tortured in jail in the early 1970s for fighting Brazil's then military dictatorship.

 

Date created : 2010-12-31

  • BRAZIL

    Supreme court backs extradition of ex-militant Battisti

    Read more

COMMENT(S)