Italy: Brazil told to extradite fugitive

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The Independent Online

Italy stepped up pressure on Brazil yesterday to extradite a fugitive rebel, Cesare Battisti.

Battisti, a former leftist rebel, was convicted in absentia of four murders carried out in the late 1970s. He lived as a fugitive in Mexico and France before fleeing in 2004 to Brazil, where he was arrested in 2007 on an Interpol warrant. Battisti has admitted to participating in a rebel group but denied he ever shot anyone.

On his last day in office, 31 December, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva refused to extradite Battisti, who has said he fears persecution if sent back to Italy. Premier Silvio Berlusconi said yesterday that diplomatic relations with Brazil remain unchanged. But after meeting Alberto Torregiani, whose father was killed by the group in 1979, Mr Berlusconi said Italy considers the Battisti case a matter of justice that it will pursue at all levels.