Brazil won`t extradite Italy`s Battisti: Media

In 2009, Supreme Court ruled former Italian guerrilla should be extradited.

Updated: Dec 30, 2010, 12:30 PM IST

Brasilia: Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has decided not to extradite former Italian guerrilla Cesare Battisti, Brazilian media reported on Wednesday, a move that could hurt ties with Italy.

The online editions of leading newspapers O Globo and Folha de S.Paulo reported, without citing sources, that Battisti would not be extradited.

Earlier in the week, Lula said he would decide by Friday. His aides said on Wednesday there was no formal decision yet.

The Supreme Court had ruled last year that Battisti should be extradited on murder convictions from the 1970s in Italy, but it left the final decision to Lula.

Battisti denies the murders and says he is being persecuted politically in Italy.

He faces life in prison there for the murders in the 1970s, a violent period known as the "Years of Lead”, when he belonged to a guerrilla group called "Armed Proletarians for Communism”.

Lula, who ends his second term in office on January 01, had granted him refugee status in January 2009, straining ties with Italy. The pending decision has been one of the main issues during the final days of Lula`s presidency.

Bureau Report