Convicted Italian murderer Cesare Battisti is a free man after the Supreme Court in Brazil rejected Rome’s bid to have him extradited to his homeland.
Judges upheld last year’s decision by ex-President Lula against extradition and, to the delight of Battisti’s legal team, ordered he be freed from jail.
The former fugitive’s lawyer, Luis Sergio Barroso, said his client would now apply for a visa to stay in Brazil permanently.
Battisti had faced life in prison in Italy which is infuriated by the court ruling. It convicted him, in absentia, of four murders dating back to the 1970s when he was in an extreme left-wing group.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Rome would pursue its legal efforts, possibly turning to the International Court of Justice in the Hague.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said the decision doesn’t take into account the fact that justice must be done “in particular for the families of victims” of crimes Battisti is convicted for.
But for supporters of Battisti, his liberation is a triumph. The 56-year-old has always denied the accusations against him.