By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazilian Federal Supreme Court Justice (STF) Luiz Fux ordered on Thursday the immediate arrest of Italian national, Cesare Battisti, sentenced to life in prison in Italy and living in Brazil since 2004. The Battisti extradition is seen as certain by political analysts when president-elect Jair Bolsonaro takes over on January 1st.
The decision makes it easier for the new administration to extradite Battisti to his home country. Last month, Bolsonaro said he would do everything legally in his power to extradite Battisti.
“Anything that is legal, on my part, we will do to return this terrorist to Italy,” the president said in a TV interview in early November. According to Bolsonaro, this was what he told the Italian ambassador, Antonio Bernardini, during a meeting with the official.
The Italian government requested the extradition of Battisti in 2007 and the request was accepted by the Supreme Court. However, in December 2010, on his last day in office, then President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva decided that Battisti could remain in Brazil.
Since then the 63-year-old Italian fugitive has been living in a small coastal town in São Paulo state.
The former member of the Proletarians Armed with Communism, an arm of the Red Brigades was sentenced to life in Italy for four homicides in the 1970s, to which he pled not guilty. He spent 30 years as a fugitive between Mexico and France and, in 2004, came to Brazil.
In recent weeks Battisti has stated he will not hide from authorities and continues to believe in the Brazilian judicial system.
“I reaffirm my confidence in the Brazilian democratic institutions, which, since I have been here, have ensured the full functioning of the rule of law, a state of law which has at the moment lacked in my former homeland, Italy,” Battisti said after president-elect Bolsonaro’s statement on his extradition.