Italy seeks EU help to get guerrilla from Brazil | world | Hindustan Times
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Italy seeks EU help to get guerrilla from Brazil

world Updated: Feb 02, 2009 07:55 IST
Italy seeks EU help to get guerrilla from Brazil

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has urged the European Union to intervene to help Italy obtain the extradition of guerrilla Cesare Battisti from Brazil.

Frattini said in an interview published on Sunday in the Il Giornale daily that the EU may be justified in legal terms in saying it has no responsibility for extradition issues, as it has so far, "but the question is political".

"This time it is happening to us, but if tomorrow Brazil or Indonesia refused to extradite a Baader Meinhof terrorist to Germany, how should we behave?" he asked.

Battisti, 54, was jailed for murder in Italy in the 1970s when he was a member of the group "Armed Proletarians for Communism". He escaped in 1981 and fled to France, but went on the run again when Paris approved his extradition in 2006 and was caught in Brazil.

Brazil's decided last month to give the Italian political refugee status, sparking diplomatic protests from Italy, which calls him a "terrorist". Battisti was convicted of two murders before his jailbreak and faces two more murder charges.

Italy has appealed to Brazil's supreme court, which must now decide on the case, but Frattini said the EU should also exert diplomatic pressure on Brazil.

He said Brazil's explanation for refusing extradition, that Battisti may not get a fair trial in Italy and risked being persecuted for his political opinions, threw doubt on the democratic credentials of an EU country.

"Can Brussels remain silent before this position?" Frattini asked. "And if tomorrow it was Belgium's or Poland's turn, how would we (the EU) behave?"

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