Seven far-left Italian guerrillas, who hid in France for decades after escaping terrorism convictions that left “an open wound” in Italy, have been arrested.
French authorities are also looking for three other Italians convicted on terrorism charges related to bombings and murders between the late 1960s and early 1980s.
The Italian government has been urging France for years to arrest and extradite the fugitives, who were identified in the Italian media as Marina Petrella, Giovanni Alimonti, Enzo Calvitti, Roberta Cappelli, Sergio Tornaghi, Giorgio Pietrostefani and Narciso Manenti.
The three who have so far managed to evade arrest were named Luigi Bergamin, Maurizio Di Marzio and Raffaele Ventura.
Five of the fugitives belonged to the far-left Red Brigades, which fought right-wing militants during a period of political and social upheaval known as “the years of lead.” Hundreds of people were killed, including former Prime Minister Aldo Moro, who was kidnapped and killed by the Red Brigades in 1978.
Under the “Mitterrand doctrine,” France allowed convicted terrorists to remain in the country and avoid extradition to Italy as long as they promised to renounce violence.
The arrests came after a meeting on April 8 between Italy’s Justice Minister Marta Cartabia and her French counterpart, Éric Dupond-Moretti, followed by a phone call the next day between Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and the French president. , Emmanuel Macron.
“During the meeting with Dupond-Moretti, Cartabia reiterated that extraditions were a priority for Italy and should be done quickly because the statute of limitations for crimes is about to expire,” said a spokesman for the Italian minister.
Draghi said in a statement on Wednesday: “The government expresses satisfaction with France’s decision to initiate legal proceedings, requested by the Italian side, against those responsible for very serious terrorist crimes, which have left an open wound. The memory of those acts of barbarism is alive in the conscience of Italians ”.
A statement from Macron’s office said his administration had wanted to resolve an issue that has long fueled tension with Rome. “France, which is also affected by terrorism, understands the absolute need to provide justice to the victims,” the statement said. “It is also part of the absolute need to build a Europe of justice in which mutual trust must be central.”
Cappelli and Petrella, both from Rome, were sentenced to life imprisonment for their role in the 1980 assassination of General Enrico Gavaligi. Cappelli was also convicted of the 1979 murder of security guard Michele Granato and wounding two policemen.
Petrella was also convicted of kidnapping Justice Ministry magistrate Giovanni D’Urso, who was held captive for 35 days in 1980.
Tornaghi of Milan was sentenced to life in prison for murder, and Calvitti and Alimonti received prison terms of 11 and 18 years respectively for crimes that included attempted murder.
Pietrostefani, a member of Lotta Continua, which was a far-left extra-parliamentary organization, and Manenti, a member of another left-wing extremist group, Nuclei Armati, were also sentenced to prison for murder.
The Italian Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, said: “You cannot flee from your responsibilities, from the pain caused, from the evil generated.”
Former leftist terrorist Cesare Battisti was extradited to Italy in 2019 from Brazil, where he had been a fugitive for nearly four decades. Battisti was convicted in 1979 for belonging to the armed proletarians outlawed by communism, but escaped from prison in Italy in 1981. He was later convicted in absentia for killing two policemen, participating in the murder of a butcher, and helping to plan the murder. from a jeweler.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism