Battisti’s release is blow for Rome

Published on 10 June 2011 at 11:44

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Headlining with “Napolitano outraged by Battisti’s release,” La Repubblica reports that the Brazilian authorities’ decision to refuse to extradite former Italian terrorist Cesare Battisti has met with a chorus of indignation led by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. Napolitano accuses Brasilia of breaching international agreements by freeing Battisti, who has been sentenced in absentia to life in prison for four murders commited during the "Years of Lead" — charges that Battisti denies.

For its part, the Italian government has announced that it will file an appeal against Brazil’s decision with the International Court of Justice in The Hague. "The Brazilians believe they have struck a blow for the left," remarks a columnist for the Milan daily: "they think they have saved a heroic freedom fighter like Garibaldi or Che Guevara, whereas Battisti was simply a trigger-happy assassin" whose release "is an affront to the memory of his victims and the history of our country."

The daily’s main front-page headline focuses on the referendums to be held on 12 and 13 June, which will rule on the reintroduction of nuclear power, the privatisation of water utilities and the "legitimate impediment" that will prevent high-ranking state officials (including the head of government) from attending trials where they face charges. While Silvio Berlusconi has campaigned for abstention, La Repubblica remarks that “the Fukushima effect" could result in a sufficient turnout for the votes to be valid. As Espresso points out, a victory for the "yes" voters would mark the end of "the cycle of Berlusconism."

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