Brazil’s top court has ruled to extradite former Italian guerilla Chesare Battisti on murder charges but after a debate lasting hours the nine justices voted that President Lula would not have to accept the decision and the final say would be his.
The former terrorist was convicted in absentia in Italy for four murders after he fled to France before being arrested on the run in Brazil. He has written to the President saying he would rather die in prison than return to Italy. His lawyer believes President Lula will not send him back. “President Lula, knowing his government’s decision, and being aware of his life story,and understanding the international system of human rights, will not hand this man over to Italy.,” explained Luis Roberto Barroso. And he has support in Brazil where some argue the 54 year old should be allowed to stay as he is being targeted for his past political views. The Italian press and politicians have called for his return stressing Battisti had been convicted of common crimes, not political ones with the Italian Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini voicing their opinions. “We hope that this decision will be considered binding for all other Brazilian authorities, and that it will be implemented immediately,” he said. Earlier this week The Brazilian President met Silvio Berlusconi who it was reported made it clear he and the opposition want approval from the President and the extradition order to be rubber stamped.