Cesare Battisti - given political asylum by Brasil

Cesare Battisti was a member of the Proletari Armati per il comunismo (PAC, Armed Proletarians for communism), a far left group which supported violent revolution and performed armed actions against the state during the anni di piombo (years of lead) in Italy, when a number of armed groups was acting in Italy. He was condemned to have committed four murders in Italy in the 70s, but has always denied them.

He fled to France, as other italian activists at the time, due to the fact that the Mitterand doctrine accepted as political refugees the people condemned in Italy during the years of lead, and therefore were not handed back to Italy, where they would be sent to prison. In France Cesare Battisti wrote several novels, as well as a semi-autobiographical book, The last bullets. In 2002 the Mitterand doctrine was canceled, and fled out of France. He was arrested in Rio de Janeiro in 2007 by brasilian and french police. Since then Battisti was held in a prison in Brasilia, but yesterday 13/01/2009, the brasilian government announced the decision of the minister of justice, Tarso Gento, to consider Battisti as a political refugee and therefore to let him live free in Brazil. His release will take place next week.

Gento made use of the argument of established fear of prosecution for one's political ideas, in order to use the law about the political refugees. Gento said that it is normal and expected that in moments of extreme social and political tension, clandestine and parallel mechanisms that give legal authority to their own selves begin to function. [...] Battisti was condemned due to the testimony against him by his ex-companion, Pietro Mutti, who was awarded for his testimony but provided no proof. To the brasilian press, Gento said that the context in which the alleged homicides occurred, the conditions under which the trials were carried out, with the complete impossibility of having a real defense due to the radicalization of the political situation in Italy, generate serious doubts about whether the accused had the right to a fair and equal trial. Finally Gento said that his reasons of assigning political asylum to Battisti are motivated by the judiciary system itself: We cannot let exceptions occurring; Brasil has given political asylum to the former dictator of Paraguay, Stroessner, and he certainly did not perform less violence than Battisti..

Concerning the affect to the diplomatic relations with Italy, the secretary of legislative affairs of the ministry of justice Romeu Tuma Junior said that the matter is above partisan political analysis. Nevertheless, the italian ministry of foreign affairs asked the brasilian prime minister Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to reconsider the political asylum ro Battisti, announcing that they are disappointed by the decision of the brasilian government. Romeu Tuma Junior replied that it has to be understood that a decision for political asylum is the decision of a country with respect to a person; it is not a decision in favor or against another country.

sources: wikipedia en, AGI (Agencia Giornalistica Italia) en, en, Globo pt

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