Fugitive ex-militant Battisti arrives in Italy

Italian former communist militant Cesare Battisti (centre) is escorted by Italian Police officers after stepping off a plane coming from Bolivia and chartered by Italian authorities, after landing at Ciampino airport in Rome on January 14, 2019. — AFP pic
Italian former communist militant Cesare Battisti (centre) is escorted by Italian Police officers after stepping off a plane coming from Bolivia and chartered by Italian authorities, after landing at Ciampino airport in Rome on January 14, 2019. — AFP pic

ROME, Jan 14 — Former communist militant Cesare Battisti, wanted in Italy for four murders in the 1970s, arrived in Rome today after an international police squad tracked him down and arrested him in Bolivia.

An Italian-flagged Falcon 900 plane carrying Battisti, who spent nearly four decades on the run, touched down under rainy skies at Ciampino airport, where far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini was waiting to escort him to prison.

The 64-year-old, who was not wearing handcuffs, smiled grimly as he was escorted off the plane by a dozen policemen.

He was expected to be taken Rome’s Rebibbia jail, where according to media reports he will begin life behind bars with six months solitary confinement.

Jailed in 1979 for belonging to an armed revolutionary group outlawed in Italy, Battisti escaped from prison two years later, and has spent nearly four decades on the run.

He was seized late Saturday in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra in an operation carried out by a joint team of Italian and Bolivian officers.

The ex-militant was given a life sentence for having killed two Italian policemen, taking part in the murder of a butcher and helping plan the slaying of a jeweller who died in a shootout that left his teenage son in a wheelchair. — AFP

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