Brazil prosecutor seeks Battisti extradition

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Brazil's Public Ministry asked the courts Thursday to revoke the residency permit of a former leftist militant wanted in Italy on murder charges, and deport him to any country that will take him.

The Public Ministry said it had sought Cesare Battisti's deportation to France or Mexico, where he lived before coming to Brazil, or "to any other country that agrees to receive him."

It cited a law barring foreigners from obtaining a residency permit if they were convicted of a felony or implicated in a trial in another country that could have them extradited.

Federal prosecutor Helio Heringer said in a statement that he was not seeking Battisti's extradition to Italy as that would go against a decision by former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to deny Rome's request.

Battisti was convicted by an Italian court in 1993 and sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for involvement in four murders in the 1970s when he was a left-wing activist -- crimes which he says he did not commit.

The 56-year-old Italian national was imprisoned for four years near Brasilia before being freed in June after Brazil's Supreme Court rejected Italy's extradition request, enraging Rome.

Later that month, he was granted Brazilian residency and now lives in the Sao Paulo area. He has said he would like to create a non-governmental organization promoting literacy.

Battisti was convicted in Italy of murdering a prison guard and a police investigator, as well as being an accomplice in the murder of a butcher and organizing an attack on a jewelry shop that left one man dead.

The onetime member of the radical Armed Proletarians for Communism (PAC) group led a life on the run for decades in Mexico, France and Brazil.

His cause has attracted some support from leftist intellectuals in Brazil and France.

© 2011 AFP

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