By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – President-elect of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, said he told Italian ambassador, Antonio Bernardini on Monday that he will do ‘everything legally in my power’ to extradite Italian convicted killer Cesare Battisti, back to his country to serve a life sentence for four assassinations.
“He [ex-president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva] decided, during the last day of his presidency, to give refugee status to an Italian terrorist named Cesare Battisti. We will do whatever is legal to return this terrorist to Italy,” Bolsonaro said during a TV Interview Monday night.
Former Italian activist, Cesare Battisti escaped an Italian jail in 1981, while awaiting trial for murders committed in the late 1970s. After living in France and Mexico, the Italian fugitive arrived in Brazil, in 2004.
He was discovered three years later living in Rio de Janeiro, and Italy asked the Brazilian government to extradite him. As extradition negotiations between Brazil and Italy began, Battisti filed for political asylum, claiming he was politically persecuted in Italy.
After more than four years in jail, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, during his last day in office, granted Battisti asylum. At the time, President Lula stated that he considered Battisti as being persecuted for his political views, and the former activist and writer was freed.
Bolsonaro, however, says he if asked to decide on Battisti’s fate, as the Supreme Court allowed former president Lula to do, he will grant Italy’s request.
“The Batistti case is very clear. Italy is asking for extradition. The case is now being discussed in the Federal Supreme Court. We expect the Supreme to make a decision in the shortest possible time,” concluded the Italian ambassador.