Global Politics

France's Red Brigades debate

Hundreds of Marina Patrela's sing the hymn of the Italian resistance, and they've been protesting in this square every Thursday evening for months now. they demand that an extradition request from Italy be rescinded. A leading protester is Patrela's daughter, who says her mother hasn't eaten since April and has lost 30% of her body weight and is on the verge of death. Patrela had lived legally and peacefully in France for 15 years under an amnesty program offered by Mitterand. She was arrested last fall on an Italian extradition warrant for 12 former members of extreme-left groups that terrorized Italy in the early 1980s. the Red Brigades, which Patrela helped led, was responsible for a number of attacks, including the sensational kidnapping and murder of an Italian Prime Minister. Many Italians are still angry about how leniently most of the perpetrators have been treated, as many have already been released from prison and those who repented did not go to jail at all. Patrela did already spend a few years in jail and then came to France, which is why many in Italy want her brought back. Many celebrities, intellectuals and liberals in Italy have taken Patrela's side. Members of her support committee say sending her back to Italy would only punish her family. It could be several more months before the case is decided.

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