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WORLD BRIEFING / BRAZIL

Italian may be allowed to stay

November 19, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Brazil's Supreme Court ruled that the nation's president should decide whether to extradite Italian fugitive Cesare Battisti, a former leftist rebel wanted by his native country for political killings in the 1970s.

In two separate 5-4 votes, the court held first that there was no legal reason to block Battisti's extradition, and then that President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has the final say over the matter.

The decision apparently opens the way for Battisti, who says he is innocent, to remain in Brazil, since Lula himself approved political refugee status for him in January.

Justice Minister Tarso Genro, who has supported allowing Battisti to remain in Brazil, said there is "a long debate ahead" and a final decision would not be made quickly.

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