[Pnews] France arrests 7 Italian leftist militants it harboured for decades

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Apr 29 11:21:49 EDT 2021

/NOTE THE CORPORATE SOURCE - 2 articles follow/


  France arrests seven Italians convicted of far-left terrorism

Angela Giuffrida - April 28, 2021

Seven Italian far-left guerrilla fighters, who hid in France 
<https://www.theguardian.com/world/france> for decades after escaping 
terrorism convictions that left “an open wound” in Italy, have been 

French authorities are also searching for three other Italians convicted 
on terrorism charges linked to bombings and assassinations between the 
late 1960s and early 1980s.

The Italian government has been urging France for years to arrest and 
extradite the fugitives, who were identified in the Italian media as 
Marina Petrella, Giovanni Alimonti, Enzo Calvitti, Roberta Cappelli, 
Sergio Tornaghi, Giorgio Pietrostefani and Narciso Manenti.

The three who have so far managed to evade arrest were named as Luigi 
Bergamin, Maurizio Di Marzio and Raffaele Ventura.

Five of the fugitives belonged to the far-left Red Brigades, which 
fought against rightwing militants during a period of political and 
social turmoil known as “the years of lead”. Hundreds of people were 
murdered, including the former prime minister Aldo Moro, who was 
kidnapped and killed by the Red Brigades in 1978.

Under the “Mitterrand doctrine”, France allowed the convicted 
terrorists to remain in the country and avoid extradition to Italy 
<https://www.theguardian.com/world/italy> so long as they promised to 
renounce violence.

The arrests came after a meeting on 8 April between Italy’s justice 
minister, Marta Cartabia, and her French counterpart, Éric 
Dupond-Moretti, which was followed by a phone call the next day between 
the Italian prime minister, Mario Draghi, and the French president, 
Emmanuel Macron.

“During the meeting with Dupond-Moretti, Cartabia reiterated that the 
extraditions were a priority for Italy and needed to be done quickly 
because the statute of limitations for the crimes are due to expire,” 
a spokesperson for the Italian minister said.

Draghi said in a statement on Wednesday: “The government expresses 
satisfaction with France’s decision to initiate judicial procedures, 
requested by the Italian side, against those responsible for very 
serious terrorist crimes, which have left an open wound. The memory of 
those barbaric acts is alive in the conscience of Italians.”

A statement from Macron’s office said his administration had wanted to 
resolve an issue that has long stoked tension with Rome. “France, 
which is also affected by terrorism, understands the absolute need to 
provide justice for victims,” the statement said. “It is also part 
of the absolute need to build a Europe 
<https://www.theguardian.com/world/europe-news> of justice in which 
mutual confidence must be central.”

Cappelli and Petrella, both from Rome, were given life sentences for 
their involvement in the murder of Gen Enrico Gavaligi in 1980. Cappelli 
was also convicted of the murder of the security guard Michele Granato 
in 1979 and injuring two police officers.

Petrella was also convicted of kidnapping the justice ministry 
magistrate Giovanni D’Urso, who was held captive for 35 days in 1980.

Tornaghi, from Milan, was sentenced to life in prison for murder, and 
Calvitti and Alimonti were given prison terms of 11 years and 18 years 
respectively for crimes including attempted murder.

Pietrostefani, a militant with Lotta Continua, which was a far-left 
extra-parliamentary organisation, and Manenti, a member of another 
leftwing extremist group, Nuclei Armati, were also given jail terms for 

Italy’s foreign minister, Luigi Di Maio, said: “You cannot flee from 
your responsibilities, from pain caused, from the evil generated.”

The former leftwing terrorist Cesare Battisti was extradited to Italy in 
2019 from Brazil, where he had been on the run for almost four decades. 
Battisti was convicted in 1979 of belonging to the outlawed Armed 
Proletarians for Communism, but he escaped from prison in Italy in 1981. 
He was subsequently convicted in absentia of killing two police 
officers, taking part in the murder of a butcher and helping to plan the 
killing of a jeweller.


  France arrests 7 Italian leftist militants it harboured for decades

Reuters,Crispian Balmer,Michel Rose - April 28, 2021

Red Brigades releases are pictured in Milan March 27, 2012. 
REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

France has arrested seven fugitive Italian leftist militants after 
harbouring them for decades following their conviction in Italy on 
terrorism charges, in a turning point for Paris and Rome on an issue 
that had long poisoned relations.

Italy has long sought the extradition of dozens of leftist guerrillas, 
who had been given refuge in France on condition they renounced violence 
following the so-called Years of Lead from the late 1960s to the 1980s. 
The period saw hundreds of people killed in violent campaigns by both 
far-left and far-right groups.

French President Emmanuel Macron's office said the arrests followed 
months of discussions between Italy and France, with police targeting 
those militants guilty of "bloody crimes".

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who took office in February and has 
established a close working relationship with Macron, welcomed the 
French action.

"The memory of those barbaric acts is alive in the Italian conscience," 
his office said in a statement.

An adviser to Macron said the move was made possible by the renewed 
"climate of trust" between Macron and Draghi, after years of tension 
between Paris and Rome, particularly when Italy was headed by a populist 

"It was a way for us to show responsibility, recognise this part of 
Italian history and stop turning a blind eye to the violent acts 
perpetrated between the mid-60s and the 80s," Macron's adviser said.

French justice minister Eric Dupond-Moretti said he was "proud to 
participate to this decision that I hope will allow Italy to turn after 
40 years a bloody and tearful page of its history."


Amongst those captured was Giorgio Pietrostefani, a co-founder of the 
Lotta Continua (Continuous Struggle) group, sentenced to 22 years in 
prison for his role in the 1972 murder of Milan police commissioner 
Luigi Calabresi.

The other six were members of the Red Brigades, including Marina 
Petrella, Roberta Cappelli and Sergio Tornaghi, all sentenced to life in 
prison for taking part in various murders and kidnappings, police said.

A search was under way for three other Italians, Macron's office said, 
adding that Rome had originally put forward the names of 200 wanted 
individuals. The Paris prosecutor's office said they would examine any 
request from Italy for extradition.

Hundreds of people were murdered in bombings, assassinations and street 
warfare by rival far-right and far-left factions during years of social 
and political turmoil that petered out as prosecutors gradually 
uncovered many of the perpetrators.

Numerous leftist militants fled to France, where Socialist President 
Francois Mitterrand pursued a policy of granting asylum to those who 
eschewed bloodshed. Later French governments abandoned that policy, but 
Italy nonetheless struggled to convince Paris to hand over even those 
convicted of murder.

In 2008, then-President Nicolas Sarkozy refused to extradite Petrella, 
citing humanitarian reasons and sparking fury in Italy. Amongst her 
various convictions, Petrella was found guilty of murdering General 
Enrico Galvaligi in 1980, as well as two police bodyguards.

Italy's biggest breakthrough in its efforts to bring fugitive militants 
to justice came two years ago, when Brazil extradited Cesare Battisti, 
convicted in 1990 in absentia for four murders. Battisti originally made 
his home in France, but fled to Mexico and then Brazil when attitudes in 
Paris started to change.

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863-9977
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://freedomarchives.org/pipermail/ppnews_freedomarchives.org/attachments/20210429/3232d528/attachment.html>

More information about the PPnews mailing list