Italian fugitive Battisti extradited from Bolivia, after 38 years on the run
Italian citizen Cesare Battisti, convicted of murder and on the run for almost four decades after escaping prison, was extradited to Italy after being arrested in Bolivia, officials said on Sunday.
His extradition was confirmed in a statement from the Brazilian government, where Battisti lived for several years until recently fleeing to Bolivia.
Battisti, 64, was arrested on Saturday in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra by an Interpol team.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment in Italy for involvement in four murders in the 1970s.
After escaping in 1981, he lived in France before fleeing to Brazil to avoid extradition, where he was identified and arrested in 2007.
Italy requested extradition and Battisti called for refuge, denying the accusations and claiming that he was being persecuted politically.
Though the Supreme Court approved the extradition, the then president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, granted him asylum in Brazil.
In December, a Brazilian Supreme Court judge ordered Battisti's arrest, but by then he had vanished again.
Battisti's lawyers in Brazil filed an emergency motion on Sunday to try to stay his extradition, but the president of the country's Supreme Court, Jose Antonio Dias Toffoli, denied it.
Bolivian Interior Minister Carlos Romero told reporters Battisti had been found on the streets after entering Bolivia illegally.
Battisti, who became a successful crime novel writer, said last year that he feared he would be tortured and killed if he were sent back to Italy.
(Top picture: A picture handout by the Italian Interior Ministry shows Cesare Battisti sitting aboard a plane chartered by the Italian government, prior to taking off from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, January 13, 2019. /VCG Photo)