It was “Liberdade Para Cesare Battisti” all the way as supporters rallied outside the Supreme Court in Brasilia to liberate Cesare Battisti. Battisti, 56, a former left-wing Italian militant, escaped from an Italian prison, where he awaited a trial for four years, which was frequently denied to him.
Brazilian President Lula da Silva had denied an earlier request for Battisti by Italy against which they had appealed in the court. Supreme Courted seconded the decision of the President and ruled that Italy lacked legal standing to challenge the decision and thereby that it won’t extradite Battisti.
To the joy of the supporters’ nine Supreme Court judges presiding over the matter voted 6-3 to free Battisti. Judge Luiz Fux, one of the nine on the panel also commented that, “At stake here is national sovereignty. It is as simple as that”.
Battisti said that he was the victim of a political persecution in Italy. Since his run in 1981by escaping the Italian jail, he was convicted of murder in absentia in 1990. Then, he started a career as a novelist in France. Later moved to Mexico and finally to Brazil, where he was arrested in 2007.
Subsequently, last year, Mr. Battisti’s request for political asylum was granted by the Brazilian government but the Supreme Court ruled the designation was illegal as he was convicted for “common crimes” rather than political acts.
The ambassador was withdrawn when former President Lula decided to refuse the extradition request which had caused immense fury in Italy.
Report by Sumit