An Italian left-wing guerrilla murderer who fled for four decades, ended up in Rome today after he was expelled from Bolivia, the authorities said.
Cesare Battisti escaped from an Italian prison in 1981 awaiting the trial of four murders, allegedly committed when he was a member of the armed proletarians for communism.
Battisti, now 64, was arrested Saturday in Santa Cruz, the largest city in Bolivia, where he was held by intelligence agents after using one of his mobile devices.
Return of a murderer: Cesare Battisti escaped from an Italian prison in 1981 awaiting the trial of four murders allegedly committed when he was a member of a left guerrilla
Battisti, now 64, was arrested Saturday in Bolivia and landed on Monday morning in Rome and was delivered yesterday
An Italian military plane with Battisti landed shortly after 11.30 local time at Rome's Ciampino airport, while snipers were on guard.
The Italian Minister of the Interior and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini and Minister of Justice Alfonso Bonafede were ready to hand him over to the prison authorities.
& # 39; We have him. And now he will have to rot in prison. He is a communist terrorist. A murderer. A coward, & # 39; said Salvini.
Battisti, who had no handcuffs, smiled grimly when he was escorted by a dozen policemen from the plane.
He was expected to be taken to the prison of Rebibbia in Rome, where, according to reports in the media, he begins the life behind the bars with a six-month solitary confinement.
Battisti must pay a life imprisonment for four murders committed in the & # 39; years of leadership & # 39; of political violence in Italy in the 1970s and 1980s, reports in the media
The Italian Minister for the Interior and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini and Minister of Justice Alfonso Bonafede address the media after the arrival of Battisti
The bus with the former Italian communist militant Cesare Battisti is seen before he board a plane after he was arrested in Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Italy had repeatedly sought the extradition of the militant, who lived in Brazil for years under the protection of former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is now in prison for corruption.
Battisti, 64, was seized on 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, according to the Italian state police.
The fugitive could walk around Santa Cruz in sunglasses and a blue T-shirt, in surveillance footage hours before he was captured. He gave it without a struggle, according to Italian government sources.
Battisti was sentenced to life imprisonment for killing two Italian policemen, participating in the murder of a butcher and helping to plan the murder of a jeweler who died during a firefight in which his teenage son was left in a wheelchair.
It is over, now the victims can rest in peace & # 39 ;, said Alberto Torregiani, the son of the fallen jeweler.
& # 39; It should have happened years ago. & # 39;
Battisti is depicted on a plnae, rented by the Italian government shortly before he left Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia
In video footage released by the Italian police, Battisti runs in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia
This photo has been released by the police and shows 20 different photo snaps from Cesare Battisti
Battisti has admitted to being part of the armed proletarians for communism, a radical group that has staged a series of raids and attacks, but has always denied responsibility for all the dead, painting themselves as political refugees.
But Rome is determined to punish one of the last figures of the so-called & # 39; Years of Lead & # 39; in Italy, a decade of violent unrest that began in the late 1960s and showed dozens of deadly attacks by hardline left and right groups.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in a Facebook post that he had expressed his gratitude to President Jair Bolsonaro, who was recently introduced in Brazil, during a telephone conversation.
During his presidential campaign, the far-right Bolsonaro – who took office on January 1st – promised that, if elected, he & # 39; immediately & # 39; Battisti would send back to Italy.
Battisti had applied for asylum without any response from the authorities, said Bolivia's ombudsman in an article in the local newspaper El Deber de Santa Cruz.
During his presidential campaign, the far-right Bolsonaro – who took office on January 1st – promised that, if he was elected, he & # 39; immediately & # 39; Battisti would send back to Italy
Italian police released an image of Battisti & # 39; s mugshot under the seal of the Bolivian police
He hoped to be favored by the leftist president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, after he had said in his asylum application that he had been forced to quit Brazil because of the ominous coincidence & # 39; that Italy and Brazil are both now governed by & extreme; right-hand & # 39; governments.
Salvini thanked the Italian and foreign police who & # 39; a delinquent who did not deserve the comfortable life on the beach and who would spend the rest of his days in prison & # 39; had captured.
Bolsonaro's son, the Brazilian legislator Eduardo Bolsonaro, tweeted in Italian with a photograph of Battisti: Brazil is no longer the land of bandits. Matteo Salvini, the & # 39; small gift & # 39; is on the way. & # 39;
Since his jailbreak, Battisti had reinvented himself as an author and wrote a series of noir novels. In 2004 he passed bail in France, where he had sought refuge. After that he went to live in Brazil clandestinely until he was arrested in 2007 in Rio de Janeiro.
After years in custody, then President Lula issued a decree – later confirmed by the Supreme Court of Brazil – in 2010 Battisti & # 39; s refused extradition to Italy, and he was liberated, angry with Rome.
Battisti, who has a five-year-old Brazilian son, told AFP last year that he & # 39; torture & # 39; and got the death if he would ever be sent back to Italy.