Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Obama in Hiroshima and Austria's close call (part 1)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

French labour strikes, raids on Google and McDonald's (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

Ukraine: Searching for missing people in Donbass

Read more

REVISITED

Video: What remains of the Gezi movement in Turkey?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Euro 2016: France readies for kick off

Read more

ENCORE!

Anne A-R : The people beyond the numbers: A photographic manifesto from the migrant trail

Read more

ENCORE!

Video: Ken Loach wins his second Palme d'Or in Cannes

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

France’s green-fingered architects

Read more

FOCUS

President Mauricio Macri’s clean break with Argentina’s ‘Kirchnerite’ past

Read more

Europe

Battisti walks free as Brazil rejects extradition to Italy

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-06-09

Brazil's Supreme Court has ruled against extraditing former far-left Italian militant Cesare Battisti and ordered his release from jail, in a move immediately condemned by the authorities in Rome.

AFP - Italian ex-militant Cesare Battisti walked free early Thursday from Brazil's Papuda maximum-security prison after the country's high court denied Italy's request to extradite him.

Brazil's Supreme Court rejected the extradition to Italy of the former far-left militant and ordered his immediate release in a case that has heightened tensions with Rome.

Italy immediately denounced the ruling with a cabinet minister calling it "the upmteenth humiliation" of the victims of Cesare Battisti, who has been sentenced to life for the murders of four persons in the 1970s.

The nine member court ruled by a 6-3 majority that former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's decision to deny the Italian extradition request and authorize Battisti to remain in Brazil complied with a bilateral treaty.

France 24's Seema Gupta reports on Italy's reaction to Brazil's refusal to extradite Cesare Battisti

The judges also said that Battisti, 56, who has been in jail fighting extradition for the past four years, should be immediately freed. Chief justice Cezar Peluso then signed documents authorizing Battisti's release.

Battisti, a member of the radical Armed Proletarians for Communism (PAC) group, became an international fugitive after escaping from an Italian jail in 1981 and spent decades evading justice living in Mexico, France and Brazil.

He was convicted in his absence by an Italian court in 1993 for the murders of four people in the 1970s, charges he has denied, and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Brazil granted him political refugee status in January 2009, in a move that effectively halted extradition proceedings.

But eight months later, the Supreme Court nullified that decision and said it favored extraditing him to Italy after all, at the same time ruling that Lula should be the final arbiter.

In late December 2010, Lula, in his last moments in office, enraged Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi by denying the extradition.

The Italian government appealed, and Brazil's nine Supreme Court justices discussed the legality of Lula's decision on Wednesday. The court also ruled by 6-3 that Italy did not have legal standing to challenge Lula's decision.

"At stake here is national sovereignty. It is as simple as that," said Judge Luiz Fux to justify his vote against Battisti's extradition and in favor of his release.

Battisti has insisted that he is innocent.

One of his lawyers, Renata Saraiva, told the daily O Globo he was "very anxious" as he awaited the ruling, taking anti-depressant medication to handle the stress.

But the case has created intense friction with Rome, which has pressed for Battisti's extradition.

In Rome, Youth Minister Giorgia Meloni declared: "The decision by the Brazilian supreme judges not to authorize the extradition of a criminal like Battisti, just like that of then-president Lula, represents the umpteenth humiliation for the families of his victims."

Meloni, quoted by ANSA news agency, said the latest move was "a slap in the face for Italian institutions, an act unworthy of a civilized and democratic nation."
 

Date created : 2011-06-09

  • BRAZIL

    Italian envoy recalled as Lula refuses to extradite Battisti

    Read more

  • BRAZIL

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

    Read more

  • BRAZIL

    Supreme court backs extradition of ex-militant Battisti

    Read more

COMMENT(S)