A Paris court today ruled against extraditing 10 former left-wing militants, including former Red Brigades members. The people in question have all been convicted of domestic terrorist crimes in the 1970s and 1980s.
For decades, the Italian nationals have lived in freedom in France. They fled Italy before they could be imprisoned following sentencing. Among their crimes are the 1980 killing of a Carabinieri paramilitary general and the kidnapping of a judge.
Last year, they were arrested and questioned by French police. They have spent 14 months under French judicial supervision as judges deliberated Italy’s extradition request.
The Court of Appeal said in a statement it rejected Italy’s extradition request for each of the 10 men and women. The reasoning should be known in the coming days. Italy can still appeal at France’s highest court.
Italy’s far-left Red Brigades group killed about 50 people in a terror campaign in the 1970s and ’80s.
“Bitter taste of impunity”
Mario Calabresi, son of the commissioner killed by Giorgio Pietrostefani said the decision left “the bitter taste of the French system, which for decades has guaranteed impunity to a group of people who have committed blood crimes.”
“Today, perhaps the former terrorists will celebrate for having escaped forever,”Calabresi told ANSA, “but I also wish them to feel the need to deal with their responsibilities and the courage to contribute to the truth.”
The Minister of Justice, Marta Cartabia, said, “I respect the decisions of the French judiciary, which acts in full independence. I am waiting to know the reasons for a sentence that denies all extraditions without distinction. This is a sentence long awaited by the victims and by the whole country, which concerns a dramatic page and still painful of our history.”
At the reading of the sentence in the Paris court, a group of Italians led by Lega deputy Daniele Belotti shouted “assassins!”. The group also included the mayor of Telgate, in Bergamo, the town of origin of one of the former terrorists, Narciso Manenti. In 1979, Manenti killed constable Giuseppe Gurrieri in front of his 11-year-old son.
The leader of Brothers of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, defines the decision as “unacceptable and shameful”. “We were under the illusion that the ‘Mitterrand doctrine’ was over. We acknowledge this is not the case. The victims’ families deserve truth and justice. The Draghi government takes immediate action: these criminals must serve their sentences in Italy until the last day”.