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Monday February 17th, 2020 11:47AM

The Latest: Brazilian leader hails capture of Italy fugitive

By The Associated Press
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ROME (AP) — The Latest on Italian fugitive militant Cesare Battisti, who has been detained in Bolivia (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is hailing the capture in Bolivia of Italian militant fugitive Cesare Battisti and is vowing he will face justice, in a sign that Battisti's extradition to Italy is increasingly imminent.

The far-right Bolsonaro used a tweet Sunday to denounce the policies of former leftist Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who granted Battisti political asylum in Brazil in 2010. 

Battisti had been living in Brazil after fleeing Italy in 1981 while awaiting trial on four counts of murder. He apparently recently slipped into Bolvia, where he was captured overnight. He denies killing anyone but was convicted in 1990 of four murders.

Bolsonaro tweeted: "Finally, there will be justice for the Italian assassin and partner of ideas of one of the most corrupt governments to ever exist" — a reference to da Silva's Workers' Party.

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11:10 a.m.

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte says a government aircraft is heading to Bolivia and will bring captured fugitive militant Cesare Battisti back home.

In a statement Sunday, Conte praised Bolivian and Brazilian authorities for the overnight capture of the fugitive after Battisti has been on the run for nearly four decades. He said Battisti will begin serving his life prison sentences as soon as he returns to Italian soil.

Battisti escaped from an Italian prison in 1981 while awaiting trial on four counts of murder allegedly committed when he was a member of the Armed Proletarians for Communism. He was convicted in absentia in 1990. He denies ever killing anyone.

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10:40 a.m.

Italy is vowing to have fugitive militant Cesare Battisti extradited to Italy "as soon as possible" following his capture in Bolivia.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement Sunday that Battisti's arrest overnight was the result of a "determined effort by Bolivian and Brazilian authorities," together with Italy's diplomatic missions. Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi "confirmed that the effort will continue so that his extradition to Italy can take place as soon as possible."

Battisti escaped from an Italian prison in 1981 while awaiting trial on four counts of murder allegedly committed when he was a member of the Armed Proletarians for Communism. He was convicted in absentia in 1990.

He has acknowledged membership in the group but has denied killing anyone.

___

10 a.m.

Italy is praising the capture in Bolivia of fugitive Italian communist militant Cesare Battisti and is vowing that he will "finish his days in prison" to serve murder convictions dating from 1990.

Bolivian police seized Battisti overnight. The Italian ambassador to Brazil, Antonio Bernardini, tweeted: "Battisti has been captured. Democracy is stronger than terrorism."

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini praised Bolivian police and Brazil's government. He called Battisti a "delinquent who doesn't deserve to live comfortably on the beach but rather to finish his days in prison."

Battisti escaped from an Italian prison in 1981 while awaiting trial on four counts of murder allegedly committed when he was a member of the Armed Proletarians for Communism. He was convicted in absentia in 1990.

He has acknowledged membership in the group but has denied killing anyone.

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