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Brazil investigating Battisti

Police say they have uncovered proof of terrorist activities

20 November, 16:05
Brazil investigating Battisti (ANSA) - Brasilia, November 20 - Cesare Battisti, the ex- terrorist that the Brazil supreme court has ruled should be extradited to Italy, was also involved in terrorist activities while in Brazil, local police told the country's leading daily on Friday.

Folha de San Paulo quoted top police official Cleberson Almihana as saying that proof was uncovered during investigations on Battisti's activities before his arrest. The 55-year-old Battisti was arrested in Brazil in April 2007, some five years after he had fled to that country to avoid extradition to Italy from France, where he had lived for 15 years and become a successful writer of crime novels.

According to Alminhana, the evidence was uncovered in his home in Rio de Janiero, in the city's exclusive Copacabana district, after police went through his computer and CDs.

They also found two forged French passports with Battisti's photos.

The material has been handed over to Brazil's anti-terror police and to Interpol, Alminhana said.

Brazil's supreme court, in a five-to-four decision, ruled on Wednesday that Battisti could be extradited to Italy but that President Inacio Lula da Silva should have the final word.

Lula was in Italy this week, to take part in a United Nations food security summit and discussed the Battisti case when he met with Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi on the sidelines of the gathering.

''I couldn't come to Italy without addressing the Battisti case, but I don't want to tell you what we said to each other,'' Lula told journalists as he left the premier's office.

In the past, Lula has come out against Battisti being returned to Italy, but he has also said he will respect the court's decision.

Battisti was convicted in absentia for complicity in four murders committed by a leftist militant group in the 1970s.

In January, the Brazilian justice ministry granted Battisti political asylum on the grounds that he would face ''political persecution'' in Italy.

The ruling outraged the Italian government who demanded that it be appealed to the Brazilian supreme court.

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