Fri Dec 14, 2007
PARIS (Reuters) - A French court approved the extradition to Italy of
Marina Petrella, a former member of the far-left Red Brigades
movement sought by Rome on murder and kidnapping charges, a judicial
source said on Friday.
However, Petrella, who was arrested in August following a request by
Italy, will remain in preventive detention pending an appeal to the
Cour de Cassation, France's highest court, the source said.
Petrella was convicted by an Italian court in May 1993 of a number of
offences including the murder of a police officer, kidnapping,
attempted kidnapping and armed robbery.
If Petrella loses her appeal it will be up to French Prime Minister
Francois Fillon to sign the extradition decree, but that can also be
appealed to the State Council, France's top administrative law body.
The entire legal appeals process could take one to two years, legal
The Italian's arrest and subsequent moves to extradite her follow
controversy earlier this year over France's role in the arrest of
another fugitive Italian radical, Cesare Battisti. He was detained in
Brazil with the help of French police.
The Red Brigades carried out a campaign of violence in the 1970s that
culminated in the kidnapping and murder of former Prime Minister Aldo
Moro in 1978.
Numerous former members took refuge in France where former President
Francois Mitterrand refused to extradite left-wing radicals who
Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi thanked French authorities for
Petrella's arrest, which he said showed the importance of
international cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism.
Petrella had started a new life in France with her partner, with whom
she had a child.
(Reporting by Jon Boyle; editing by Robert Woodward)