Ital­ian fugi­tive ar­rested:


Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Italy sent an air­craft to Bo­livia on Sun­day to pick up fugi­tive left-wing mil­i­tant Ce­sare Bat­tisti who was cap­tured there nearly three decades af­ter be­ing con­victed of mur­der. The devel­op­ment sets the stage for a cli­max to one of Italy’s long­est-run­ning ef­forts to bring a fugi­tive to jus­tice.

Bo­li­vian po­lice, work­ing with Ital­ian agents, ar­rested Bat­tisti, 64, overnight in Santa Cruz de La Sierra, Ital­ian po­lice said. He had been liv­ing in Brazil for years, but last month Brazil’s out­go­ing pres­i­dent signed a de­cree or­der­ing his ex­tra­di­tion, ap­par­ently spark­ing Bat­tisti’s lat­est flight.

Ital­ian po­lice re­leased a video of Bat­tisti they said was taken hours be­fore his cap­ture, show­ing him seem­ingly obliv­i­ous that he was un­der sur­veil­lance as he walked ca­su­ally down the street in jeans, a blue T-shirt and sun­glasses. A sub­se­quent im­age showed Bat­tisti’s mug shot un­der the seal of the Bo­li­vian po­lice.

Ital­ian Pre­mier Giuseppe Conte said a government air­craft was ex­pected to land Sun­day af­ter­noon in Bo­livia. The For­eign Min­istry vowed to have Bat­tisti ex­tra­dited “as quickly as pos­si­ble” and In­te­rior Min­is­ter Mat­teo Salvini called him a “delin­quent who doesn’t de­serve to live com­fort­ably on the beach but rather to fin­ish his days in prison.”

Bat­tisti es­caped from an Ital­ian prison in 1981 while await­ing trial on four counts of mur­der al­legedly com­mit­ted when he was a mem­ber of the Armed Pro­le­tar­i­ans for Com­mu­nism. He was con­victed in ab­sen­tia in 1990, and is fac­ing a life term for the deaths of two po­lice of­fi­cers, a jew­eler and a butcher.

Bat­tisti has ac­knowl­edged mem­ber­ship in the group but has de­nied killing any­one and has painted him­self as a po­lit­i­cal refugee.

Bat­tisti ini­tially fled to France, where he joined a group of dozens of left-wing Ital­ian mil­i­tants who en­joyed of­fi­cial pro­tec­tion from France’s So­cial­ist government. Like Bat­tisti, they had fled dur­ing Italy’s “years of lead”, a bloody and tur­bu­lent era in the 1970s and 1980s when mil­i­tants on the left and right car­ried out bomb­ings, as­sas­si­na­tions and other vi­o­lence aimed at bring­ing down the Ital­ian government. (AP)


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