Sarkozy asks Italy to pardon militant from radical Red Brigades
The Associated Press
Published: July 8, 2008
TOYAKO, Japan: French President Nicolas Sarkozy says he has asked
Italy to pardon a former member of Italy's Red Brigades left-wing
terrorist group who lived in France for several years.
Sarkozy says he asked Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to
request a presidential pardon for Marina Petrella, because her
convictions for murder and kidnapping were so long ago and because of
Sarkozy said Tuesday that Berlusconi "shares my analysis" of the
situation. The two are both attending the Group of Eight summit in Japan.
Petrella was convicted in Italy in absentia in 1992 and arrested in
France last year. Sarkozy said Tuesday that France "will extradite" her.
The Red Brigades plagued Italy with attacks in the 1970s and 1980s.
Italy to pardon ex-Red Brigades member
Jul 8, 2008
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he had asked Italy to pardon
Marina Petrella, a former member of the Red Brigades who is awaiting
extradition from France to Italy.
Petrella was convicted by an Italian court in 1992 of murder,
kidnapping, attempted kidnapping and armed robbery and was arrested
in France in August 2007 following a request from Italy. A French
court in December approved her extradition.
"I have asked the Italian prime minister to request from the
president of the Italian republic that he grant her a pardon in light
of how long ago she was convicted and of her health and psychological
condition," Sarkozy told a news conference at the G8 summit in Japan.
"For me, it would be a humanitarian gesture," he said, adding that
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had agreed to transmit the
request for a pardon to President Giorgio Napolitano.
The Red Brigades carried out a campaign of violence in Italy during
what were known as the "years of lead" in the 1970s, culminating in
the kidnap and murder of former Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978.
Many former members of the Red Brigades took refuge in France during
the 1980s, when then President Francois Mitterrand refused to
extradite left-wing radicals who had renounced violence. Sarkozy
disagrees with Mitterrand's old policy.
"We could lay this matter to rest (with a pardon), with France
respecting Italian law and French court decisions while at the same
time remaining true to its tradition of protecting human rights by
requesting a pardon," Sarkozy said.
Before she was arrested, Petrella lived in France as a free woman for
many years, settling down with a new partner with whom she had a child.
She has given media interviews from detention in France in which she
has complained of poor health and depression.