A former left-wing Italian extremist has been arrested in Brazil in a joint operation involving Brazilian, French and Italian police. Cesare Battisti is now expected to be extradited to Italy, after being on the run since 1981.
Italian authorities are delighted with the arrest, in a case which has followed major changes in French policy.
Battisti escaped jail in Italy, and took refuge, first in Mexico and then in France, which, under Francois Mitterand, refused to extradite Italian activists who renounced violence, considering them victims of political persecution.
During 15 years in Paris, he became a renowned author of crime novels.
While in France, an Italian court sentenced him to life for his part in four murders in the 1970’s.
But in 2004, the political climate in France had changed, and the right wing Prime Minister signed the papers which made his extradition possible.
Battisti saw the writing on the wall, and fled a couple of months before.