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Brazilian court allows Italian killer to walk free

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Brazilian court allows Italian killer to walk free
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Italian politicians hit out at Thursday’s decision by Brazil’s Supreme Court to block the extradition of a fugitive convicted of four murders in Italy in the 1970s.

In Strasbourg, MEPs criticised the court for allowing former leftist guerrilla Cesare Battisti to walk free from jail. The ruling by Brazilian judges came after Italy challenged ex-president Lula da Silva’s refusal to hand Battisti over last year.

In Rome, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi expressed “great regret” over the release. Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said the government would go to the International Court of Justice in The Hague over the decision.

Italy’s president Giorgio Napolitano made a rare intervention in international affairs, calling the judgement a “grave wound” in relations with Brazil.

Battisti was a member of the terrorist group Armed Proletarians for Communism during the 1970s. He escaped from prison in 1981 and fled to France. He left Paris in 2006 for Brazil when the French government started moves to extradite him to Italy.