Angry Euro-MPs to protest to Brazil over Battisti release

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The European Parliament, scene of bitter protests Thursday over the release of former far-left militant Cesare Battisti from a Brazilian jail, is to forward a complaint to Brasilia over the matter.

"I believe that all of the parliament regrets and feels a deep bitterness following this decision," said the speaker of Thursday's session and one of the assembly's vice-presidents, Italian leftwinger Gianni Pittella.

The parliament will express its "indignation" to Brazil, he said.

Earlier, several members brandished signs in English and Italian saying "Battisti Assassin" as Italian conservative MEP Mario Mauro took the floor to deplore the release of "a multi-murderer."

Mauro asked parliament president Jerzy Buzek to send a written protest and "show our solidarity with the pain of relatives who have awaited justice for 30 years."

Battisti walked free early Thursday after Brazil's Supreme Court rejected his extradition to Italy.

The 56-year-old, who has been in jail fighting extradition for four years, was a member of the radical Armed Proletarians for Communism (PAC) group who escaped from an Italian jail in 1981 and spent decades evading justice, living in Mexico, France and Brazil.

He was convicted in his absence by an Italian court in 1993 for the murders of four people in the 1970s, charges he has denied, and sentenced to life imprisonment.

© 2011 AFP

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