Brazil: Battisti Released from Prison

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Two years ago I wrote about Cesare Battisti, a former left-wing militant who was convicted in absentia by Italy for murders committed in the 1970s.

Battisti, who escaped from an Italian prison in 1981 while awaiting trial on four counts of murder when he was a member of the Armed Proletarians for Communism (Proletari Armati per il Comunismo – PAC), had lived in France writing crime novels until 2004, when he failed to appear to his scheduled parole visit after Paris agreed to hand him over to the Italian authorities.

From there he fled to Brazil, where he was arrested in 2007. In 2009, then-President Lula da Silva granted him political refugee status while still in prison.

Battisti was released from prison last Wednesday:

Cesare Battisti was released from a Brazil prison Wednesday after the Supreme Court rejected the extradition request—a decision that sparked outrage and indignation among Italian government officials, who had been pushing for years that Mr. Battisti be sent back to Italy to serve a lifetime prison sentence. The Italian government said Thursday that it was planning to appeal the decision with the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

The court's decision "wounds our sense of justice and also those who have suffered in those cases," Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told reporters.

He was released from prison on June 9 by order of the Brazilian Supreme Court.

Cross-posted at Fausta's blog.

(AP Photo)

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