- Twitter/Polizia di Stato
- Cesare Battisti, an Italian communist wanted for four murders, was caught in Bolivia on Saturday, disguised with a fake beard.
- Battisti, who was part of the banned Armed Proletarians for Communism, was captured by Interpol in Santa Cruz de la Sierra on Saturday.
- Italian state police have posted surveillance video of the 64-year-old in disguise on Twitter, moments before he was seized.
- He fled Italy in 1981. A court later convicted him in absentia of killing two policemen and two civilians.
- Battisti had been given asylum in Brazil, but a new government there changed its mind about protecting him.
A prominent militant Italian communist wanted for four murders committed in the 1970s was arrested in Bolivia on Saturday, after being recorded using a fake beard as a disguise.
Cesare Battisti was a member of the Italian terror group the Armed Proletarians for Communism (PAC,) who fought during Italy’s violent and chaotic “Years of Lead,” a period from the 1960s to 1980s.
He was arrested by Interpol in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra wearing a fake beard and sunglasses, according to Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper. He had been on the run since 1981. He also denies all four murders.
On Sunday, Italian state police tweeted a short video of Battisti in disguise just before his arrest:
???? #CesareBattisti ripreso poco prima della cattura
Team di poliziotti #Criminalpol #Antiterrorismo e #Digos Milano con collaborazione intelligence italiana lo hanno pedinato fino all'arresto da parte dela polizia boliviana @INTERPOL_HQ pic.twitter.com/adBu9iRvX2
— Polizia di Stato (@poliziadistato) January 13, 2019
Eduardo Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, tweeted an image of Battisti on his way back to Italy, in which he can be seen clean-shaven.
He wrote, in Italian, that Battistie is a “little gift” for Italy, and that his arrest shows Brazil is “no longer a land of bandits.”
— Eduardo Bolsonaro (@BolsonaroSP) January 13, 2019
He is wanted for involvement in four murders. He was convicted in absentia of killing two police officers, Corriere della Sera wrote. He is also wanted in connection with the killings of a jeweler and a butcher
According to the paper, the 64-year-old fled Italy for France in 1981 after he was a convicted for being a member of the illegal PAC in 1979. He then moved to Mexico, then found asylum in Brazil in 2010, it said.
He spent eight years under Brazilian protection, but fled to neighboring Bolivia after the authorities in Brazil changed their mind and issued a warrant for his arrest.
Brazilian president in 2010, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, granted him asylum, but Brazil’s newly elected president Jair Bolsonaro said that Battisti would be sent back to Italy.
On Sunday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte wrote a Facebook post saying: “Cesare Battisti will return to Italy in the next few hours, with a flight departing from Santa Cruz and headed to Rome.”
“Just now I heard the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, on the phone, who I wanted to thank on behalf of the whole Italian government for the effective cooperation that led to the capture of Battisti. And in the same way I thank the authorities.”
Italian minister for the interior Matteo Salvini tweeted that Battisti was “a delinquent who does not deserve a comfortable life at the beach, but to finish his days in jail.”