Sunday 17 February 2019

Brazil sends fugitive back to Italy as 'gift'

 

Cesare Battisti. Photo: REUTERS/Nacho Doce
Cesare Battisti. Photo: REUTERS/Nacho Doce

Josephine McKenna

A left-wing Italian militant who spent decades on the run after being convicted of four murders committed in the 1970s has been captured in Bolivia and will be extradited to Italy as a "little gift" from Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro to the populist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

Cesare Battisti was arrested on Saturday by local police and an Interpol team as he was walking alone through the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. According to reports, he was unarmed and put up no resistance.

"Italian terrorist Cesare Battisti was detained in Bolivia and will be soon brought to Brazil, from where he will probably be sent to Italy to serve a life sentence," tweeted Filipe G Martins, a senior aide to Mr Bolsonaro.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the government had dispatched a plane to Latin America to bring Battisti back to Italy. Battisti, a founder of the far-left Italian radical group Armed Proletarians for Communism, was convicted in absentia in 1993 of four political killings committed in the 1970s and sentenced to life in prison. The 64-year-old has always maintained his innocence.

Mr Salvini praised Battisti's arrest and tweeted a caricature of him sitting on the beach with the caption: "The party is over."

Yesterday, Eduardo Bolsonaro, the son of president Bolsonaro, tweeted to Mr Salvini: "Brazil is no longer a land of bandits. The 'little gift' is coming."

Telegraph.co.uk

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