A man who appears to be Italian fugitive Cesare Battisti enters the cabin door of a plane before it takes off for Italy, where he will serve a life sentence, at the airport in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. (AP)
ROME – A left-wing Italian militant who was convicted of murder three decades ago has arrived in Rome to serve a life prison sentence, after his life as a celebrity fugitive came to an abrupt end with his arrest in Bolivia by a team of Interpol agents.
An Italian military aircraft carrying Cesare Battisti landed at Rome’s Ciampino airport shortly after 11:30 a.m. local time on Monday, as snipers kept watch. Italy’s justice and interior ministers, who have rejoiced that Battisti’s victims will finally see justice, were on hand to turn him over to prison authorities.
Battisti was arrested Saturday in Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s largest city, where he was located by intelligence agents after using one of his mobile devices. Italy sent an aircraft to bring him home for the first time since he fled in 1981 as he awaited trial and dodged extradition by claiming to sympathetic left-wing governments on both sides of the Atlantic that he was a political refugee.