Battisti appeals 'imminent' extradition (3)

Refile habeas corpus plea to supreme court

(ANSA) - Rio de Janeiro, October 10 - The lawyers of ex-leftist militant Cesare Battisti on Tuesday appealed to the Brazilian supreme court saying it was now "common knowledge" that there was a "concrete, imminent and irreversible threat" he would be extradited to Italy to serve two life terms for four 1970s murders. They again urged the court to urgently hear their habeas corpus appeal, the site of the O Globo newspaper said.
    Battisti said earlier Tuesday he had not been trying to flee Brazil when he was picked up in a taxi heading for Bolivia last week, saying he had no reason to do so because he is still protected from extradition by former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's 2010 decree making him a permanent resident. "Why should I have fled?" Battisti told Brazilian TV station TV Tribuna. "I'm protected, the Lula decree cannot be revoked: five years have passed". He said "this contention that I was fleeing doesn't stand up...I'm not a political refugee I'm an immigrant with a permanent visa, I can leave this country how and when I like, without any restriction, I have all Brazilian rights". Battisti, who is wanted for the four murders committed in Italy's 1970s Years of Lead, went on: "And what was I fleeing from? This is the only country I am protected in".
    He went on: "If they think they can send me to Italy they'll do so illegally. "I never meant to leave Brazil," he insisted, saying "I want to build a little house here, but I'll have to wait. Despite certain stranger manoeuvres to send me to Italy".
    Battisti is living with a Brazilian woman he met about five years ago and has a small child with her.
    Battisti claimed that the Brazilian police had staged "an ambush" against him.
    "It was all organised," he said.
    Meanwhile in Rome an Italian MP elected in Brazil, Renata Beno, said a political decision to send Battisti back to Italy "has been taken.
    "The Brazilians don't want Battisti in their country. It was former president Lula who kept him there," she said.
    Battisti, 62, stirred widespread outrage in Italy at the weekend by toasting with a beer after being provisionally released by the Brazilian authorities.
    Italy is working to bring back Battisti from Brazil so he can serve two life terms for the four murders.
    He was arrested Wednesday in Corumba', on the border between Brazil and Bolivia.
    The alleged would-be escape was launched after reports that the Brazilian government is moving towards extraditing Battisti.
    The former militant lifted a glass of beer to reporters at an airport bar as he was on his way back to his home in Sao Paulo.
    It was initially reported he had been stopped on charges of taking money out of the country but a Brazilian judge instead charged him with breaching his status as political refugee.
    He was later acquitted of that charge, however.
    Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano and Justice Minister Andrea Orlando have both said Italy is determined to get Battisti back, amid reports the Brazilian government is moving towards granting extradition.