Brazil orders extradition of former left-wing militant Cesare Battisti

Sao Paulo: Brazilian President Michel Temer passed orders for the extradition of former left-wing militant Cesare Battisti, a day after the Supreme Federal Tribunal of Brazil ordered his arrest on Thursday.

Battisti, a former member of Armed Proletarians for Communism — an Italian far-left terrorist group, escaped from a prison in Italy in 1981. Thereupon, he was convicted in absentia for four counts of murder. However, he had denied the charges alleged upon him despite acknowledging his membership with the Italian terrorist organisation.

Soon after the news of Battisti’s extradition broke, President Sergio Mattarella of Italy appreciated the efforts of the Brazil President.

“Your gesture constitutes significant witness to the ancient and solid friendship between Brazil and Italy, and is testimony to the sensibility about a complex and delicate matter that arouses feelings of intense involvement by the public opinion of our country,” Fox News quoted Mattarella as saying in a statement released by the presidential Quirinal Palace on Friday.

Fearing extradition charges, Battisti had initially escaped to France and then Mexico before fleeing to Brazil. His arrest in Rio de Janeiro in 2007 further instigated the Italian government to request Brazil for sending him back to his homeland.

In 2010, Battisti was granted asylum under the rule of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Battisti was detained in 2017 while trying to cross the Brazil-Bolivia border carrying a heavy amount of undeclared cash, approximately USD 7,500. He was, however, released within the next two days.

Following this incident, the Supreme Federal Tribunal levied charges of tax evasion and money laundering on the former militant, followed by a warrant.