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FILE PHOTO - Italian former leftist guerrilla Cesare Battisti leaves the headquarters of Federal Police in Sao Paulo March 13, 2015. REUTERS/Nacho Doce


BRASILIA (Reuters) - The Brazilian government plans to extradite Cesare Battisti, an Italian former left-wing guerrilla convicted of murder in his country, the newspaper O Globo reported on Friday.

Battisti is under arrest in the Brazilian frontier town of Corumbá where he was detained on Wednesday as he tried to cross into Bolivia in a taxi, apparently fearing that Brazil's government would revoke his asylum status at Italy's request.

Battisti faces life in prison in Italy, where he was convicted of four murders committed in the 1970s, when he belonged to a guerrilla group called Armed Proletarians for Communism. He escaped from prison in 1981 and lived in France before fleeing to Brazil to avoid being extradited to Italy.

Brazilian police said he was being held for breaking currency laws due to the "significant" amount of cash in euros and dollars that he had at the border crossing.

President Michel Temer's government is waiting for Italy to agree to reduce Battisti's prison term to a maximum 30 years, in accordance with Brazilian law, O Globo said, without naming its sources.

A spokesman for Temer told Reuters the president had not taken any decision on the Battisti affair. Italian diplomats did not return calls.

Italy has asked Brazil to review the status of Battisti, who was granted refugee status by former leftist President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva on his last day in office in 2010. Lula had refused an Italian extradition request, a decision that upset relations between the two countries.

But that is likely to change with Temer, the centre-right president who took office last year when Lula's hand-picked successor Dilma Rousseff was impeached.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Paul Simao)

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