Thursday, June 9, 2011

Brazil: Italian government peeved over Battisti decision

A diplomatic kerfuffle has developed between Brazil and Italy over the fate of former guerilla Cesare Battisti.

On Thursday the Brazilian Supreme Court denied extraditing the ex-militant to his native Italy where he would've faced life imprisonment. In two separate 6-3 decisions the high court ruled that a foreign government cannot question a “sovereign act” by the Brazilian government. (Shortly before leaving office last year then-President Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva reused to extradite Battisti).

As a result of the court’s ruling, Battisti was freed from the prison where he had been held while legal proceedings were taking place. This has enraged numerous Italian government officials and politicos who blasted the Brazilian court’s move:
Franco Frattini, Italy's Foreign Minister, said it was "shameful" that Battisti was now free to sun himself on a Brazilian beach and said the decision did not meet "the requirements of international law."

Giorgia Meloni, Youth Minister, called it "an act unworthy of a civilized and democratic nation" and said it marked "the umpteenth humiliation for the families of his victims."

Alessandra Mussolini, a parliamentarian and the granddaughter of the former dictator Benito Mussolini, called for a national boycott of Brazilian goods.
The Italian foreign ministry will reportedly take the Battisti case to the International Court of Justice.

Battisti was a former member of the Armed Proletarians for Communism and was alleged to have committed a variety of crimes during the 1970s. Before arriving in Brazil he resided in several countries including France and Mexico. He was convicted in absentia by an Italian court in 1998 on the murders of four people.

Despite the high court’s ruling Battisti may not be home free yet; according to Al Jazeera English current Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff may have the last word.

Image- Press TV
Online Sources- CNN, The Guardian,, Al Jazeera English, France24, The Telegraph

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