Cesare Battisti

Cesare Battistiという作家が伯剌西爾で逮捕されたというニュースは、康慨「意大利左翼作家在巴西被捕」(『東方早報』2007年3月21日)という記事で知った。以下はBoston Globeに掲載されたAPの記事なり;

Italian leftist wanted in 1970s killings is arrested in Brazil
Fugitive became author in France

By Tales Azzoni and Jean-Pierre Verges, Associated Press | March 19, 2007

SAO PAULO -- Accused of killings in his native Italy, militant 1970s leftist Cesare Battisti reinvented himself in France as a celebrated writer of police thrillers.

But Paris got tougher on suspected terrorists and Battisti went on the run again in 2004, disappearing, apparently with the help of a French "support committee."

Disappearing, that is, until yesterday, when police tracking a woman bringing Battisti money found the fugitive novelist near Brazil's Copacabana Beach.

An extradition request was immediately sent to Brazil's Supreme Court, which could send him back to Italy, said a spokesman for Brazilian federal police, Bruno Ramos.

Battisti "will try to ensure his rights," said his Paris lawyer, Eric Turcon.

Like many leftists wanted for their roles in a tumultuous period of bombings and assassinations in Italy in the 1970s, Battisti, who escaped from an Italian prison in 1981, took refuge in France in the 1990s. He took advantage of a tacit policy, developed under Socialist President Francois Mitterrand, allowing Italian militants who took refuge in France the right to remain if they renounced their violent ways.

France was proud of its tradition as a haven for political refugees and disapproved of Italy's use of mass arrests and informants to combat extremists. Some in France believed that Italian militants could not get fair trials at home.

Battisti was a member of Armed Proletarians for Communism, a group founded in 1977 that targeted mostly prisons and people who were believed to cooperate with law enforcement. He was accused of the slaying of a prison guard and of butcher Lino Sabbadin, who was slain in Milan on Feb. 16, 1979. Sabbadin had shot and killed a robber who had broken into his store months earlier.

Fleeing Italy and proclaiming his innocence, Battisti lived in France for more than a decade, gaining prominence by writing about two dozen books, including many dark thrillers.

He was convicted in absentia and sentenced to life in prison in Italy in 1990 for the slayings of the prison guard and Sabbadin.

He reiterated his claim of innocence of the killings in a book published in France a year ago.

"I am guilty, as I have often said, of having participated in an armed group with a subversive aim and of having carried weapons. But I never shot anyone," he wrote in "Ma Cavale" ("My Escape").

Mitterrand's legacy left France vulnerable to criticism that it wasn't doing enough to combat terrorism. As times changed, France adjusted its policy of sheltering Italians, as well as Basque militants accused of attacks in Spain.

In January 2003, Italian authorities formally asked France to extradite Battisti. Two months before then-Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin was able to sign an extradition decree in October 2004, Battisti disappeared again, failing to show up for a weekly check-in with judicial officials.

Law enforcement officials went on the hunt for him, while a support committee was formed to back his bid to remain in France. Artists and intellectuals rallied around him, including novelist Fred Vargas and philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy.

It was a young woman from the support committee, assigned to bring the fugitive money, who proved to be his undoing.

Acting on a tip from Italian police, the French watched the woman for a month, tracking her to the Rio de Janeiro hotel where Battisti was found, French police officials said.

"Brazilian police had been following him for several months after receiving information from Interpol [the international police agency] in Paris and Rome," Ramos said of Battisti.


Received Sunday, 18 March 2007 18:57:00 GMT
PARIS, March 18, 2007 (AFP) - France's leftist Green Party on Sunday condemned the arrest of an Italian ex-revolutionary who had lived in France for many years.
The country's Socialists, however, said international extradition rules must be respected in the case of Cesare Battisti, who was arrested in Brazil on Sunday.
The arrest of Battisti was "the result of the French state not respecting its commitments when it comes to those who have renounced violence," a Green Party spokesman said.
Battisti, 52, disappeared from France in 2004 shortly before the French government signed an extradition order to return him to Italy, where he has been convicted in absentia for four murders.
He had lived in France since 1990 and made a living as a crime writer, and supporters in France had taken up his cause.
Battisti benefitted from a policy instituted by then Socialist president Francois Mitterrand under which Italian left-wing extremists could stay in France if they abandoned their commitment to armed struggle.
Socialist Party official Stephane Le Foll said Sunday that his fleeing France had changed the circumstances.
"He fled, so it's his responsibility," he said. "He didn't have to do it. Now he must be extradited."