Sentenced to life imprisonment in Italy for four murders committed in the 1970s, Cesare Battisti has complained about the conditions of his imprisonment. Relatives and admirers of the former far-left militant denounced the “torture” of the isolation he suffers in prison where he is serving a sentence.
“The (Italian Justice) Ministry arrested him in a kind of ‘bubble’,” a family member told AFP, who asked not to be named. He said that the family wants Battisti, 65, to return to live with a certain “normality”, as determined by the law. The former leader of the radical Italian group Proletarians Armed for Communism (PAC) was arrested in January 2019 in Bolivia, after a flight of more than four decades between France and Brazil.
After being arrested, Battisti was extradited to Italy and for the first time recognized, before a judge, his responsibility in the murders. In prison, Cesare Battisti continued to write and publish. According to his relatives, he finished a new novel that they hope to publish in France and Brazil. “He only has writing,” they say.
After being informed that Battisti confessed his participation in the four murders, ex-president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2010) regretted having protected him for years. “We are frustrated, disappointed. I would have no problem apologizing to the Italian left and the families [das vítimas] de Battisti “, said Lula.
Battisti was sentenced to life in prison for the 1978 murder of Antonio Santoro, a prison guard, and Andrea Campagna, who worked as a police driver, a year later. He was also convicted of complicity in the 1979 murders of Pier Luigi Torregiani, a jeweler, and Lino Sabbadin, a butcher.
Transfer after hunger strike
Battisti was serving a sentence in a maximum security prison in Sardinia, in a solitary confinement reserved for certain detainees convicted of terrorism. The ex-militant then asked to be transferred to a prison closer to his family’s residence. After a hunger strike in September, he was taken to the Rossano penitentiary in Calabria, in southern Italy.
According to people close to the ex-militant, while in Sardinia he could at least use his computer, in Calabria “he has nothing”. “Even the paper is rationed and he spends the day looking at the wall,” said the relative, explaining that the relatives are studying ways of filing an appeal with European justice. “It is truly torture”, they emphasize.
According to these sources, when Battisti tried to send a letter to his lawyer to complain about his conditions of incarceration, or when he mentioned his situation in phone calls, the prison management would have increased the isolation measures.
Relatives also denounce that he was threatened by prisoners convicted of Islamic terrorism. A petition signed by several writers and filmmakers, mainly French, asks the government to forgive the political crimes committed in the 1970s by Battisti in Italy.
(With information from AFP)