The Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi arrives in Brasília on March 8. It is expected that by the time he lands a decision will have been reached on whether Cesare Battisti is a common criminal or a political prisoner. And that decision will determine Battisti’s future.
If president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva decides he is a common criminal who murdered four people in the 1970s, he will be sent back to Italy to serve out a life sentence and Berlusconi will be pleased.
If Lula decides Battisti acted against (in the 1970s) and fled from (in the 1980s) a repressive, undemocratic Italian government in an effort to make the world a better place, then Battisti will be allowed to remain in Brazil with refugee status and Berlusconi will be disappointed.
However, even if Lula decides to allow Battisti to remain in Brazil, it is almost certain the case will once again return to the Brazilian Supreme Court because in doing so Lula will breach an extradition treaty with Italy, which dates from 1989.
In November 2009, in reviewing the case, the Brazilian Supreme Court (STF) issued a favorable opinion on the extradition of former leftist militant, as the Italian state requires, but determined that the final decision should rest with the president, who has not made his decision public yet.
Convicted in Italy to life in prison for four murders, the former guerrilla from the group Armed Proletarians for Communism (PAC) is awaiting Lula’s decision in the Papuda prison, where he has been jailed since 2007.
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