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AFP
January 14, 2019

Fugitive Italian ex-militant arrested in Bolivia

World

AFP
January 14, 2019

BRASA­LIA: Cesare Battisti, a former Italian communist militant sought by Rome for four murders in the 1970s, has been arrested after an international police squad tracked him to Bolivia where he faces extradition to Brazil and then likely to Italy.

Italy has repeatedly sought the extradition of Battisti, who lived in Brazil for years under the protection of former leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (2003-2010), who is now in prison for corruption.

"Italian terrorist Cesare Battisti was detained in Bolivia (Saturday night) 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 on international affairs to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

During Brazil’s recent presidential campaign the far-right Bolsonaro -- who took office on January 1 -- vowed that if elected he would "immediately" extradite Battisti to Italy.

In mid-December Brazil’s outgoing president, Michel Temer, signed an extradition order for Battisti after a judge ordered his arrest. By then the Italian ex-militant had disappeared. Battisti, 64, was arrested late Saturday in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Brazilian police sources told Brazilian media. Italian interior ministry sources confirmed the arrest.

"Battisti was arrested in the street, unarmed and he didn’t resist, responded to police in Portuguese and showed a Brazilian document confirming his identity," an Italian interior ministry source said. "Now Italy is waiting for him". Italian state police said the arrest had been carried out by a joint team of Italian and Bolivian officers with the help of Italy’s counter-terrorism section.

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