France Arrests Ex-Members of Italy Extremist group Red Brigades

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tags: Cold War, terrorism, political violence, European history, leftists, Italian history

France has detained seven former members of far-left Italian militant groups, including the Red Brigades.

The seven, and three other Italians still being sought, had been convicted of terrorism charges in Italy dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.

France had offered left-wing radicals protection from extradition under a controversial policy.

Italy's prime minister welcomed the arrests, saying the crimes had "left a wound that is still open".

The Red Brigades and other militant groups carried out violence in Italy during the so-called Years of Lead.

The period, from the late 1960s to early 1980s, got its name from the vast number of bullets fired.

The Red Brigades were blamed for numerous killings, including the 1978 abduction and murder of former prime minister Aldo Moro.

The arrests on Wednesday involved members of the Red Brigades and a co-founder of the far-left militant group Lotta Continua.

In the 1980s, France's then Socialist president François Mitterrand offered Italy's far-left radicals protection from extradition under the "Mitterand doctrine", on the condition that they renounced violence and had not been accused of bloodshed.

The policy has long been a source of tension between the two countries, with Italy calling on France to hand over some 200 people.


Read entire article at BBC