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Red Brigade suspect remains behind bars

The Red Brigades are notorious for a series of attacks against political targets (picture: www.inclasse.it) The Red Brigades are notorious for a series of attacks against political targets (picture: www.inclasse.it)

The Federal Court has ruled that a suspected member of Italy's Red Brigades guerrilla group must remain in custody until a decision is made on his extradition.

This content was published on August 6, 2002 - 16:18

The court threw out an appeal by 46-year-old Nicole Bortone, alias Vincenzo, saying there was a danger that he would try to flee the country.

Bortone had asked to be released to be with his two children and his partner, who was seriously ill. His lawyer said Bortone's partner had died on August 1, while the appeal was pending.

Bortone was arrested in Zurich last March on an Italian warrant, which accuses him of being one the founding members of the Red Brigades, a leftwing group that carried out numerous terror attacks in Italy in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

A court in Rome convicted Bortone in absentia in 2001 and sentenced him to five-and-a-half years in prison for membership of an armed gang.

He is also accused of involvement in the 1999 murder of Massimo D'Antona, a government adviser who was an under-secretary at the ministry of labour.

Extradition

The decision about whether to extradite Bortone - normally a matter for the justice ministry - is in the hands of the Federal Court because of the political nature of the charges.

The justice ministry handed the extradition request to the court on July 23.

The original Red Brigades were founded in 1973. Their most notorious act was the kidnapping and murder in 1978 of Aldo Moro, the president of the then all-powerful Christian Democratic Party and former prime minister of Italy.

A group calling themselves the "New Red Brigades" claimed responsibility for D'Antona's murder, and for the killing of government adviser Marco Biagi last March.

swissinfo with agencies

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