Italy insists France extradite terror fugitive

2nd March 2004, Comments 0 comments

ROME, March 2 (AFP) - Italian Justice Minister Roberto Castelli renewed his call Tuesday for the extradition of a cult literary figure in France who is wanted in Italy for his 1970s activities in an extreme-left armed gang.

ROME, March 2 (AFP) - Italian Justice Minister Roberto Castelli renewed his call Tuesday for the extradition of a cult literary figure in France who is wanted in Italy for his 1970s activities in an extreme-left armed gang.

Cesare Battisti "must pay his debt" Castelli said.

Battisti has been convicted in his absence in Italy for four homicides, holdups and belonging to an armed group - the Armed Proletarians for Communism (PAC).

Battisti, 49, sought refuge in France under the former Socialist government headed by the late president Francois Mitterrand and has become a successful novelist, with 11 titles to his credit.

He was arrested last month after a verbal spat with a neighbour, and is now in jail awaiting a hearing on Italy's demand for extradition.

In an interview with Padania Libera radio, which reflects the views of his right-wing Northern League party, Castelli sharply criticised the first secretary of the French Socialist party, Francois Hollande, who has called for Castelli's release.

"Since the French left believes that Italy is ruled by a regime very close to Fascism, and is therefore illegitimate, he thinks that someone who has killed in the name of the Left should not be extradited," Castelli said.

He said a much discussed single judicial regime for the whole of the European Union does not work because in France and other countries, "everyone knows that the prosecutors take their orders from the justice minister.

"Let's assume that one day the first secretary of the Socialist party enters the government and becomes justice minister," Castelli said. "He then tells the attorney general to prosecute Italian political figures whom he considers Fascists. It seems unbelievable, but it is true."

© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news

 

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