Sarkozy meets daughter of Red Brigades victim
Family members of victims urge Sarkozy to return a former terrorist to Italy.23 October 2008
ROME - The daughter of an Italian communist killed by the Red Brigades on Wednesday met French President Nicolas Sarkozy to push her case for justice.
Sabina Rossa, who met Sarkozy in Paris, earlier said the president sent a "bad message" on terrorism to the next generation by refusing to return a former member of the group.
Rossa was referring to Marina Petrella, convicted in Italy in 1992 of plotting the 1981 murder of a senior Rome police officer and the kidnapping of a magistrate.
But Rossa said Sarkozy explained that he refused Italy's request to extradite Petrella, who was hospitalised following a hunger strike, on "humanitarian grounds".
Sarkozy "said he had to make this decision alone. The Italian government did not send doctors to examine Ms Petrella like he had asked them" and his letter seeking advice from the Italian president went unanswered, said Rossa.
The French president defended his decision saying "Ms Petrella would now be dead if she had been extradited", said Rossa, 45, who is also a member of parliament from the opposition Democratic Party.
Before the meeting, Rossa said Sarkozy had to understand the impact of "terrorism in Italy, with more than 400 deaths and thousands of wounded".
The Red Brigades was a Marxist-Leninist group formed in the 1970s that sought to create a revolutionary state through armed struggle.
A group representing victims of a 1980 attack in Bologna sent a letter to Sarkozy on Wednesday protesting his decision and saying it was against his anti-terrorism policy.
"Your decision will be applauded by the terrorists... but it will be totally disapproved by the victims", said Paolo Bolognesi, president of the Italian association for victims of the Bologna bombing.
The French presidency said in a statement that Sarkozy "assured the families of his determination to pursue an active policy in terms of judicial cooperation and of fighting terrorism".
Bolognesi condemned a shift in attitudes towards "political" violence in recent history, including the October 1980 attack on the Bologna train station that killed 85 people and left some 200 injured.
Sarkozy's decision "supports revisionism that in Italy and also in Europe is trying to put the rags of romanticism" on those who sought to dress "their sordid assassinations as political", said Bolognesi.
Earlier in 2008 France decided to transfer Petrella to serve her sentence in Italy, but on 12 October Sarkozy suspended the transfer after Petrella was hospitalised.
Rome did not yet respond to the decision.
Rossa was in favour of the conditional release of one Red Brigade member who shot at her father on 24 January 1979.
"I have no desire for vengeance, only for justice", said
[AFP / Expatica]