Battisti still in France as Italians seek extradition

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Cesare Battisti, the Italian terrorist turned novelist who vanished last weekend to escape extradition to Italy, has announced in a letter that he is in hiding somewhere in France.

Cesare Battisti, the Italian terrorist turned novelist who vanished last weekend to escape extradition to Italy, has announced in a letter that he is in hiding somewhere in France.

There was speculation earlier this week that Mr Battisti, 50, had fled the country. In an open letter to the French government, he said that he plans to remain in France, "the country of human rights".

Mr Battisti was convicted by an Italian court of murdering four people as a far-left terrorist in the 1970s. He has become the object of a judicial tug of war between France and Italy after settling in Paris in 1990 and re-inventing himself as a successful writer of thrillers.

To the indignation of many French intellectuals and left-wing politicians, a French court decided in June to reverse previous rulings and order his extradition to Italy. Mr Battisti has appealed to the highest French court, the Cour de Cassation.

Rome has announced plans to extradite from France another 12 Italians, alleged to be former left-wing terrorists.

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