Fugitive Italian writer detained in Brazil

Cesare Battisti leaving the Federal Police headquarters in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 13, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

SAO PAULO (AFP) - Brazilian police on Wednesday (Oct 5) detained Italian ultra-leftist militant and writer Cesare Battisti, who was convicted of murder in his home country and has been on the run for decades.

The detention took place at the Brazilian-Bolivian border, said a spokesman for the Federal Highway Police, declining to give more details.

"For now we only know that he was detained," the spokesman told AFP.

There was no official information on the cause of the incident or where Battisti, 62, who is wanted in Italy and has long feared deportation, was now.

According to the respected O Globo daily's website, Italy asked Brazil's government last week to reconsider the decision not to extradite Battisti, which was made under former leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

"Brazilian authorities believe Battisti was trying to take refuge in Bolivia," the report said, adding that he was attempting to take out about US$5,000 (S$6814) and 2,000 euros (S$3204).

Battisti was convicted in 1993 for his part in four murders blamed on an armed Marxist group active in Italy in the 1970s.

He spent some 30 years on the run in Mexico and France and came to Brazil in 2004, living in secret before being arrested in Rio de Janeiro in 2007. After four years in confinement, Battisti was released in 2011 and given permanent residency in Brazil.

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