Cesare Battisti fugitive and former leftist guerrilla convicted of murder in his own country has been freed after Brazilian police detained him at the Bolivian border, his lawyer said Saturday.
Brazilian police said they stopped Battisti, 62, because he failed to declare he was carrying about $6,000 and 1,300 euros. Battisti “was freed and has already returned to Sao Paulo,” Marcio Palma, a lawyer with the Bottini and Tamasauskas law firm told AFP.
Battisti was convicted of being a member of an armed gang in his homeland in 1979, then escaped from prison near Rome in 1981. He was subsequently convicted for his part in four murders blamed on an armed Marxist group active in Italy in the 1970s.
Brazil’s Supreme Court authorized his extradition in 2009, but this was blocked in 2010 by then leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on his last day in office — infuriating Italy.
After Battisti’s detention this week, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano tweeted that he was working with Rome’s ambassador in Brazil to “bring Battisti back to Italy and hand him over to justice.”
In Brasilia, a source in President Michel Temer’s office said Temer was “waiting for the positions of the justice ministry and foreign relations ministry in order to take a decision.”