Lhe nine former Italian far-left activists, who were arrested or surrendered to French justice, were released Thursday April 29 under judicial supervision by the Paris Court of Appeal, pending the study of extradition requests targeting them, said the Paris public prosecutor’s office in a press release. These nine Italians, all convicted in their native country for acts of terrorism in the 1970s and 1980s, now have several obligations, including the “ban on leaving” France and the handing over of their identity documents. “None has consented” to the Italian extradition requests, which the appeals court will begin to consider at a first hearing on Wednesday.
Luigi Bergamin and Raffaele Ventura, two of three members of the Italian far left wanted since Wednesday for extradition, surrendered to French justice earlier in the day, said a French judicial source. Luigi Bergamin, former member of the proletarians armed for communism, “went on his own with his lawyer to the court of appeal this (Thursday) morning” in Paris, said this source, confirming information from the ‘Ansa. Later in the day, Raffaele Ventura, a former member of the Communist Combatant Formations, also went to the Paris Court of Appeal with his lawyer, a source familiar with the matter told Agence France-Presse, which ‘confirmed the judicial source. Seven members of the Italian far left in France claimed by Italy were arrested on Wednesday. A tenth person, Maurizio Di Marzio, is still wanted.
Convicted of terrorism in the 1970s and 1980s
According to the Italian police, Luigi Bergamin, born in August 1948 near Padua, in Veneto (North), was sentenced to 16 years, 11 months and one day of imprisonment, in particular for criminal association and aggravated homicides, that of an agent police officer, Andrea Campagna, killed in Milan in 1979, and that of a prison officer, Antonio Santoro, killed in Udine (North-East) in 1978 by the writer Cesare Battisti. French justice refused his extradition in the early 1990s. Raffaele Ventura is a former member of the Communist Combatants, convicted, according to Italian media, for the murder of a policeman, Antonio Custra, in May 1977 in Milan.
The crackdown targeting these members of the Italian extreme left living in France, announced by the Presidency of the French Republic, was carried out at the request of the Italian authorities. It targeted a total of ten refugees in France, all convicted in Italy for acts of terrorism committed in the 1970s and 1980s.
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The operation was warmly welcomed by the Italian authorities, but denounced in France by the lawyers of those arrested and by the League of Human Rights. From sources close to the case, the nine Italians were presented to justice on Thursday, after the hearing of the seven arrested by the antiterrorist police on Wednesday.
The Paris court of appeal must decide during the day whether they will be left free under judicial control or imprisoned pending the examination of Italian extradition requests, according to these sources. A first public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday May 5, according to sources familiar with the matter.