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News :: Human Rights
Italian Activist Threatened With Extradition
20 Apr 2004
Since 1981, 150 former Italian Activists have been legally residing in France. Some of them are now being unfairly threatened with extradition to Italy where they would immediately be sent to prison. Sign a petition to let them reside in France!
Around 150 former Italian activists, condemned in Italy for actions linked with the political and social upheaval of the 1970s, have emigrated to France. Since 1981, they have been legally residing there on the promise made by the former French President Francois Mitterrand. He promised that they would always have safe refuge there so long as they renounced their past political activities, did not go underground, and did not involve themselves in politics. Some of them are now being unfairly threatened with extradition to Italy where they would immediately be sent to prison.

Cesare Battisti, the author of several detective novels, was such an activist and is now facing possible deportation. On Tuesday, February 10, 2004, he was arrested in Paris and detained to await hearing for his extradition to Italy. His counsel immediately appealed for his release. On March 3rd, the court granted a conditional release until his hearing scheduled for May 12, 2004. Since his arrest, he must report to the police weekly and cannot leave Paris nor even enter any airport.

Battisti’s counsel and we are shocked by this situation. He has already been subjected to this same procedure in 1982. The court then decided that the Italian request of extradition would contradict Mitterand’s promise, and Battisti was ultimately allowed to remain in France.

The Italian government has no new evidence against Battisti, so that he has to face a new hearing is both excessive and absurd. This is because France has a law that states that no one shall be tried twice for the same crime without new evidence.

The French government’s decision to allow former Italian activists to reside in France was made in response to emergency legislations adopted by Italy in the 1970s. The crimes committed at this time within the frame of what was considered a “rebellion against the state” were treated under special laws that prescribed heavier sentences for certain crimes. Morover, the “Repentant Act” reduced sentences for those who would testify against others. One can imagine the reliability of such testimonies. This was further enhanced by a “Dissociation Act” which made possible for the accused to plead guilty based not upon evidence, but upon repentants’ testimonies. Under the Italian judiciary system, the guilt of the accused must be established by prosecutors in front of the court.

In Cesare’s situation, the Italian governement convicted him in his absence with only repentant’s testimonies. He is accused to be involved in four murders, two of which where committed within hours of each other, but in two cities miles apart! Battisti’s case would set a precedent in betraying Mitterand’s promise making all 150 vulnerable to these same procedures.

We remain mobilized to prevent the extradition of the Italian refugees who were guaranteed resident status in France. We demand France deny extradition requests by the Italian government and provide forever the security they assured them.

We encourage you to join over 23,000 others in signing our petition at
the first box asks for your first and last name,
the second for your e-mail address,
the third for your city and country, and
the fourth for your occupation

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Re: Italian Activist Threatened With Extradition
27 Apr 2004
We remain mobilized to prevent the extradition of the Italian refugees who were guaranteed resident status in France. We demand France deny extradition requests by the Italian government and provide forever the security they assured them.
Re: Italian Activist Threatened With Extradition
11 May 2004
waiting for to-morrow May 12th, 5 PM...

just coming back from the lawsuit I shall send you a brief comment

From Paris, O.
Re: Italian Activist Threatened With Extradition
12 May 2004
As I said yesterday to day coming back I send you any words report...

Last lawsuit, Paris, on Wednesday, May 12th, 17 hours-21 hours(on Wednesday,
May 12th, 5 pm-21 hours) beloved Freedom / culture otherwise / final
Battisti cut

Verdict on June 30th!

Attention ! The Press and the television désinforment (The World(Monde),
A2, Euro New, etc.) according to a lie of the title and the article by AFP
which also désinformera thus the foreign Press...
(Doubtless to be convenient for a pressure of the Chancellery):
" The general public prosecutor's department of Paris favorable to the
extradition of Battisti: the general public prosecutor's department of Paris
declared itself on Wednesday favorable to the extradition towards Cesare's
Italy [...] "

FORGERY! (I can tell of as I was there)

1. This info fallen unless 8 pm ignores a whole pladoirie and half of the
other one (the indictment inaugurated the session but the instruction lasted
until 21 h).

3. An Italian lawyer came to show texts in hand of the legal limit of the
Battisti file within the framework of the Italian very law, and more still
towards the European law.

4. The prosecuting attorney is symbolically always in the role of the
indicter, that his indictment is against the accused person is thus normal.

5. The prosecuting attorney is not the prosecutor and do not thus represent
the general public prosecutor's department.

6. The general public prosecutor's department did not give opinion favorable
to the extradition and the judges will give their verdict only on June 30th.

We can even say that the analysis of the file of the Italian government,
with falsified details(rooms) and the others modified, was rather oppressive
for this one and showed the manipulations denounced(cancelled) by lawyers.
And the examination of the file the files of arhives of which were rather
favorable to the refusal of extradition.

To see on June 30th if French Judges at last will succeed to resist. I hope


Comment: obnoxious attitude of the Italian journalists during the lawsuit
(chatting during the pleas and not stopping entering and bringing out and
twice slamming the door; specially when the heard of piece from a high
Italian expert on Italian law ).


a popup online at
Negri with Ballestrini to Battisti (on amnesty)
18 May 2004
Easy translation thanks to an engine ( please verify or correct it ) from the article in French (after this English-US version):

" The intellectuals who make the apology of the State of Italian right(law)
today, who existed according to them in the 70s, are blind, ignorant or
cynical. "
Liberation, Bounces

To Forgive Battisti, among others, would free the country of its ghosts of
the seventies.
In Italy, a political amnesty which does not pass.

By Nanni BALLESTRINI and Toni NEGRI on Tuesday, May 18th, 2004
Nanni Balestrini poet and novelist and Toni Negri philosopher

On June 30th, the French justice should pronounce on the possible
extradition of Cesare Battisti, political refugee in France since 1981 and
on the run of its own country for acts committed in the 70s. The decision
was sent back after a first audience of the chamber of instruction on April
7th, date which made, for a certain number of us, sad and painful memories

April 7th, 7th, 2004, was indeed the 25th anniversary of the arrest of about
sixty intellectuals and workers by the judge Calogero, who was in the time -
and who is even today - the public prosecutor of the city of Padoue. These
workers and these intellectuals were all accused of having organized a vast
movement within factories and universities which pushed in the " uprising
armed against the State " (an offence introduced into the Italian penal code
during the fascism, punished by the life imprisonment, and which was never
overruled since), and in particular to represent the brain of a political
organization the official facade of which would have been named " Autonomia
operaia " ( labor autonomy ), and the secret structure of which would have
been that of the Red Brigades. They were besides accused without proofs of
being the people in charge of nineteen murders, and in particular that of
the president of the Christian Democracy, Aldo Moro. After seven years,
while the accused persons had waited in prison for a lawsuit which finally
took place, these charges were totally abandoned, and almost all those who
had been imprisoned on April 7th, 1979 in prisons of high security were set
again at liberty having been totally cleared: they had thus made seven years
of prison in extreme conditions but received neither excuses nor
compensation on behalf of the Italian State.

Both authors of this text were among those whom the judge Calogero accused:
the first one managed supernaturally to avoid the confinement and lived
seven years in France before being totally settled and daring to return in
Italy; the second underwent four and a half years of preventive confinement,
then was afterward elected representative, what allowed himto go out of
prison, and finally took refuge with France during fourteen years, protected
by the doctrine Mitterrand, before returning in Italy voluntarily in 1997 to
purge the last six years of prison which remained in him to make. It is in
the light of this experience that we allow, today, to speak about the
historic and legal problem which puts the extradition of Cesare Battisti.

We read the indignant letters of certain intellectuals, journalists and
Italian magistrates: unlike what assert numerous French intellectuals, these
write that Italy of the 70s did not live civil war, And what the State of
Italian right did not thus have to use of laws of exception. The arguments
which they use seem to us nevertheless often forgetful, not to say more
ridiculous. Thus let us restart this history which was - so - ours.

The 70s represented an at the same moment vast and deep collective
experiment thanks to which two generations tried to eradicate props -
nevertheless unchanging seemingly - of the Italian society of the post-war
years. It is on this movement that it meant imposing new reports in the
family, in the sexuality, in the work, in the education, in the creation, in
the politics... But, while in the other countries of Europe the wave
provoked by 1968 had been integered inside institutions thanks to reforms
certainly more or less effective but which always took into account
requirements of the new generations, in Italy, on the contrary, an opaque
and corrupt political class, been used since the 50s to repress in the blood
the labor and peasant fights, refused at once everything dialogue with a
student movement which did not besides stop developing, and was bound more
and more in an enormous labor mobilization. Instead of opening in the
reforms for which asked a modern country (let us remember that it is in
these same years when the rights for the divorce and for the abortion were
conquered - against the will of the government in load), they preferred to
repress and to stop the demonstrators; and the custom of firearms on behalf
of police forces provoked of numerous died. At the same time, Italy
underwent what we called " a terrorism of State ", that is of numerous
murderous attacks organized by certain fringes of secret services having
escaped any control and by extreme right-wing small groups: there were thus
explosions on trains, bombs in banks and during trade-union meetings, during
real acts of terror having for end to generalize the fear and to force the
country to withdraw on moderate positions. We said that it was a " strategy
of the tension ": to destabilize to re-stabilize - and the deaths counted by
hundreds. In answer to it, a part of the movement gradually slid towards the
armed struggle and committed political murders: officers and producers,
journalists, union activists, politicians, magistrates... The State then
adopted an outfit of special laws which did not correspond doubtless
formally to a real State of exception, but which nevertheless allowed the
arrest and the preventive confinement of thousand persons during years ( the
legal limit was fixed to twelve years ), the usage of the torture, the
summary lawsuits completely built on prisoners' word to which it had been
promised that the freedom in exchange for confessions and which would have
anything invented to go out of prison. The data are sadly clear: 36 000
orders, 6 000 condemned persons, one thousand persons taken refuge abroad;
and those who think that all this is not true have only to go to glance at
the reports of Amnesty International of these same years.

Now it is not a question of saying that the 70s were not violent years, nor
to make profession of angelism. But Italy of post-68, it was also the
attempts of putsch, the infiltration of the masonic lodge P2 in the high
spheres of the State and the civil society ( should we remind that numerous
elements of the political class of this time are the same who are
protagonists of the public life of the peninsula today? ), the Atlantic
military structure "Gladio" which had surrouunded in secret the centres of
the power, the enormous scandal "Lockheed" which had soiled not only several
Ministers of the government in responsibility but also the President of the
Republic itself, forcing him to the resignation...

A diffuse and deep corruption, thus, which eventually appeared in full light
at the beginning of the 90s, and which provoked, at least formally, the
disappearance of the big Italian parties: the history of Tangentopoli is
from this point of view only the consequence of decades of dysfunctions and
bribes, subversion and lie, drift and secrets.

The 70s were all this - and not only, as some people want it to persuade, a
metropolitan "jacquerie" in which a small number of delirious fanatics,
totally cut by the reality and manipulated by occult powers, put in danger a
peaceful, quiet and calm democracy.

The repression of the movement of the 70s lasted during years. The time
passed. Many politicians recovered a virginity. The actors of the lead years
purged for their part up to the end, and sometimes excessively, their
condemnation - in prison for the majority of them, in exile for the others -
and only ones those who did not live the exile can deny that it is also, in
spite of appearances, about an exemplary and cruel punishment.

It is not a question here of saying that we were innocent. It is simply a
question of reminding that the laws by virtue of which we were imprisoned -
and, for some, condemned - were not normal laws; and that every man,
whatever it is, is entitled to a just justice. It is on this point that the
doctrine Mitterrand based its thought. In the case of the settled,
certainly: all those who were cleared having undergone the years of prison,
having lost their work and sometimes their family, underwent a justice
tragically grotesque; but in the case of the condemned persons, the
injustice is not less monstrous there.

The case of Adriano Sofri, condemned for twenty two years of prison, twenty
five years after the facts which are blamed him - and although it continues
desperately to proclaim itself innocent-, is the most sad example. Sofri is
innocent, but he was condemned during a lawsuit-river dotted with
contradictory declarations), with ambiguous witnesses, with proofs which
disappear, of uncalled-for or replaced judges, hoarse and redone judgments.
We allow only to add to all this: if Sofri had been guilty - and it is not
him-, this parody of justice to which he was subjected, and about which the
historian Carlo Ginzburg said very exactly that it looked like a real
lawsuit of witchcraft, it would be less monstrous?

Thirty years passed. The men changed. They recovered with difficulty a life
when they were able to do it. But this history, the history of which we do
not still manage to make, is a wound. After thirty years, while nothing is
more similar to what existed then - neither the persons, nor the historic
situation - has it another sense to want to punish? Is not there legal
prescription when souls and bodies became other, and when all their
existence is the proof? Do not we risk to transform the justice - the one
who was cruelly so lacking to the time - in a vengeance?

A vengeance which made of the eye for eye its creed, but which does not work
in the same way for all. The massacres provoked by the strategy of the
tension lived, for the greater part, unpunished. In the daytime of the
arrest of Battisti, the Italian judiciary decided to refuse, after thirty
years of successive lawsuits, the charges which charged certain extreme
right-wing leaders and people in charge of the secret services of the attack
of the Bank of the agriculture of Milan, in 1969: a bomb had provoked a real
bloodbath. The people in charge can sleep soundly, they do not need an
amnesty, they are already pardoned.

But, for the extreme left, no amnesty. This page of the history will not be
turned, because it would mean exactly that we finally agreed to worry the
real history. The Italian left refuses to make an amnesty by fear that
Berlusconi and his friends take advantage of it. Berlusconi and his friends
do not need it, they are autoamnistiés for a long time.

The intellectuals who make the apology of the State of Italian right today,
who existed according to them in the 70s, are blind, ignorant or cynical.
The doctrine Mitterrand had no big claims. It simply registered a
non-functioning of the justice and the impossibility of the Italian
political class to give political answers to a movement of contesting pushed
bit by bit to the extremism by the choice of the repression. The doctrine
Mitterrand allowed dozens persons to abandon the infernal spiral of the
appeal to weapons and to choose another life, another route. It is on this
base that it was confirmed by the governments of cohabitation which
succeeded one another from 1986, to begin with that in the head of which was
Jacques Chirac, then Prime Minister. In narrow connection with Italian
Caritas, the Church of France has, too, always supported firmly the
commitment which had been taken.

There is a problem of the political amnesty today for lead years. Some
people believe that the forgiveness is a weakness. We think, on the
contrary, that only the forgiveness is the measure of a real political
force, because only the forgiveness can allow Italy today to release itself
from ghosts of the 70s.

But, in Italy, all this is doubtless still impossible, because he(it) reigns
an opaqueness there which does not allow the history(story) to be made,
unless, as today, the direct actors decide - indeed in spite of them,
because there is no other possible solution - to resume(to take back) the
word. Italy of the XXIth century tries(feels) towards the lead years the
difficulty that France towards Vichy or towards the war of Algeria had for a
long time. We ask today that, as in France, this history(story) is written,
so that it stops finally being the taboo of the memory and the forgiveness.

From a Translation Italian to French by Judith Revel in Liberation


"Les intellectuels qui font aujourd'hui l'apologie de l'Etat de droit
italien, qui existait selon eux dans les années 70, sont aveugles, ignorants
ou cyniques."

Libération, 18 mai.
Pardonner à Battisti, entre autres, libérerait le pays de ses fantômes des
années soixante-dix.
En Italie, une amnistie politique qui ne passe pas

mardi 18 mai 2004
Nanni Balestrini poète
et romancier
Toni Negri philosophe

Le 30 juin, la justice française devrait se prononcer sur l'éventuelle
extradition de Cesare Battisti, réfugié politique en France depuis 1981 et
en fuite de son propre pays pour des actes commis dans les années 70. La
décision a été renvoyée après une première audience de la chambre
d'instruction le 7 avril, date qui a fait resurgir pour un certain nombre
d'entre nous des souvenirs tristes et douloureux.

Le 7 avril 2004, a en effet été le 25e anniversaire de l'arrestation d'une
soixantaine d'intellectuels et d'ouvriers par le juge Calogero, qui était à
l'époque ­ et qui est encore aujourd'hui ­ le procureur de la République de
la ville de Padoue. Ces ouvriers et ces intellectuels étaient tous accusés
d'avoir organisé un vaste mouvement au sein des usines et des universités
qui poussait à l'«insurrection armée contre l'Etat» (un délit introduit dans
le code pénal italien pendant le fascisme, puni par la réclusion à
perpétuité, et qui n'a jamais été abrogé depuis), et en particulier de
représenter le cerveau d'une organisation politique dont la façade
officielle aurait été nommée «Autonomia operaia» (autonomie ouvrière), et
dont la structure clandestine aurait été celle des Brigades rouges. Ils
étaient en outre accusés sans preuves d'être les responsables de dix-neuf
assassinats, et en particulier de celui du président de la Démocratie
chrétienne, Aldo Moro. Après sept ans, alors que les accusés avaient attendu
en prison un procès qui eut finalement lieu, ces accusations ont été
totalement abandonnées, et presque tous ceux qui avaient été incarcérés le 7
avril 1979 dans des prisons de haute sécurité ont été remis en liberté après
avoir été totalement blanchis : ils avaient donc fait sept ans de prison
dans des conditions extrêmes mais n'ont reçu ni excuses ni dédommagement de
la part de l'Etat italien.

Les deux auteurs de ce texte ont été au nombre de ceux que le juge Calogero
accusait : le premier a réussi miraculeusement à éviter l'incarcération et a
vécu sept ans en France avant d'être totalement acquitté et d'oser rentrer
en Italie ; le second a subi quatre ans et demi d'incarcération préventive,
puis a été par la suite élu député, ce qui lui a permis de sortir de prison,
et s'est enfin réfugié en France pendant quatorze ans, protégé par la
doctrine Mitterrand, avant de rentrer en Italie volontairement en 1997 pour
purger les six dernières années de prison qui lui restaient à faire. C'est à
la lumière de cette expérience que nous nous permettons, aujourd'hui, de
prendre la parole à propos du problème historique et juridique que pose
l'extradition de Cesare Battisti.

Nous avons lu les lettres indignées de certains intellectuels, journalistes
et magistrats italiens : au contraire de ce qu'affirment de nombreux
intellectuels français, ceux-ci écrivent que l'Italie des années 70 n'a pas
vécu de guerre civile, et que l'Etat de droit italien n'a donc pas eu à
utiliser de lois d'exception. Les arguments qu'ils utilisent nous semblent
pourtant souvent oublieux, pour ne pas dire ubuesques. Repartons donc de
cette histoire qui a été ­aussi ­la nôtre.

Les années 70 ont représenté une expérience collective à la fois vaste et
profonde à la faveur de laquelle deux générations ont cherché à déraciner
les piliers ­ pourtant immuables en apparence ­de la société italienne de
l'après-guerre. C'est à ce mouvement qu'il est revenu d'imposer de nouveaux
rapports dans la famille, dans la sexualité, dans le travail, dans
l'enseignement, dans la création, dans la politique... Mais, alors que dans
d'autres pays d'Europe la vague provoquée par 1968 avait été réabsorbée à
l'intérieur des institutions grâce à des réformes certes plus ou moins
efficaces mais qui tenaient toujours compte des exigences des nouvelles
générations, en Italie, au contraire, une classe politique opaque et
corrompue, habituée depuis les années 50 à réprimer dans le sang les luttes
ouvrières et paysannes, a refusé d'emblée tout dialogue avec un mouvement
étudiant qui ne cessait par ailleurs de se développer, et se liait de plus
en plus à une énorme mobilisation ouvrière. Au lieu de s'ouvrir aux réformes
que demandait un pays moderne (souvenons-nous que c'est dans ces mêmes
années que les droits au divorce et à l'avortement ont été conquis ­ contre
la volonté du gouvernement en charge), on a préféré réprimer et arrêter les
manifestants ; et l'usage des armes à feu de la part des forces de police a
provoqué de nombreux morts. Parallèlement, l'Italie a subi ce que l'on a
appelé «un terrorisme d'Etat», c'est-à-dire de nombreux attentats meurtriers
organisés par certaines franges des services secrets ayant échappé à tout
contrôle et par des groupuscules d'extrême droite : il y a donc eu des
explosions sur des trains, des bombes dans des banques et lors de meetings
syndicaux, de véritables actes de terreur ayant pour finalité de généraliser
la peur et de contraindre le pays à se replier sur des positions modérées.
On a dit que c'était une «stratégie de la tension» : déstabiliser pour
restabiliser ­ et les morts se sont comptés par centaines. En réponse à
cela, une partie du mouvement a progressivement glissé vers la lutte armée
et a commis des assassinats politiques : entrepreneurs, journalistes,
syndicalistes, hommes politiques, magistrats... L'Etat a alors adopté une
panoplie de lois spéciales qui ne correspondaient sans doute pas
formellement à un véritable Etat d'exception, mais qui ont malgré tout
permis l'arrestation et l'incarcération préventive de milliers de personnes
pendant des années (la limite juridique en était fixée à douze ans), l'usage
de la torture, des procès sommaires entièrement construits sur la parole de
détenus auxquels il avait été promis la liberté en échange de confessions et
qui auraient inventé n'importe quoi pour sortir de prison. Les données sont
tristement claires : 36 000 arrêtés, 6 000 condamnés, un millier de
personnes réfugiées à l'étranger ; et ceux qui pensent que tout cela n'est
pas vrai n'ont qu'à aller jeter un coup d'oeil dans les rapports d'Amnesty
International de ces mêmes années.

Or il ne s'agit pas de dire que les années 70 ont été des années non
violentes, ni de faire profession d'angélisme. Mais l'Italie de l'après-68,
c'était aussi les tentatives de coup d'Etat, l'infiltration de la loge
maçonnique P2 dans les hautes sphères de l'Etat et de la société civile
(faut-il rappeler que de nombreux éléments de la classe politique de
l'époque sont les mêmes qui sont aujourd'hui protagonistes de la vie
publique de la péninsule ?), la structure militaire atlantique Gladio qui
avait clandestinement investi les centres du pouvoir, l'énorme scandale
Lockheed qui avait entaché non seulement plusieurs ministres du gouvernement
en charge mais aussi le président de la République lui-même, le contraignant
à la démission...

Une corruption diffuse et profonde, donc, qui a fini par émerger en pleine
lumière au début des années 90, et qui a provoqué, au moins formellement, la
disparition des grands partis italiens : l'histoire de Tangentopoli n'est de
ce point de vue que la conséquence de décennies de dysfonctionnements et de
pots-de-vin, de subversion et de mensonge, de dérives et de secrets.

Les années 70 ont été tout cela ­ et non pas seulement, comme certains
veulent le faire croire, une jacquerie métropolitaine dans laquelle un petit
nombre d'exaltés délirants, totalement coupés de la réalité et manipulés par
des pouvoirs occultes, ont mis en danger une démocratie pacifique,
tranquille et placide.

La répression du mouvement des années 70 a duré pendant des années. Le temps
a passé. Bien des hommes politiques se sont refait une virginité. Les
acteurs des années de plomb ont pour leur part purgé jusqu'au bout, et
parfois outre mesure, leur condamnation ­ en prison pour la majorité d'entre
eux, en exil pour d'autres ­ et seuls ceux qui n'ont pas vécu l'exil peuvent
nier qu'il s'agisse aussi, malgré les apparences, d'une peine exemplaire et

Il ne s'agit pas ici de dire que nous avons été innocents. Il s'agit
simplement de rappeler que les lois en vertu desquelles nous avons été
incarcérés ­ et, pour certains, condamnés ­ n'étaient pas des lois normales
; et que tout homme, quel qu'il soit, a droit à une justice juste. C'est sur
ce point que la doctrine Mitterrand a fondé sa pensée. Dans le cas des
acquittés, certes : tous ceux qui ont été blanchis après avoir subi des
années de prison, perdu leur travail et parfois leur famille, ont subi une
justice tragiquement grotesque ; mais dans le cas des condamnés, l'injustice
n'en est pas moins monstrueuse.

Le cas d'Adriano Sofri, condamné à vingt-deux ans de prison, vingt-cinq ans
après les faits qui lui sont reprochés ­ et bien qu'il continue
désespérément à se proclamer innocent ­, en est l'exemple le plus triste.
Sofri est innocent, mais il a été condamné lors d'un procès-fleuve constellé
de déclarations contradictoires, de témoins ambigus, de preuves qui
disparaissent, de juges déplacés ou remplacés, de jugements cassés et
refaits. Nous nous permettons seulement d'ajouter à tout cela : si Sofri
avait été coupable ­ et il ne l'est pas ­, cette parodie de justice à
laquelle il a été soumis, et dont l'historien Carlo Ginzburg a très
justement dit qu'elle ressemblait à un véritable procès de sorcellerie, en
serait-elle moins monstrueuse ?

Trente ans ont passé. Les hommes ont changé. Ils se sont refait
difficilement une vie quand ils l'ont pu. Mais cette histoire, dont on ne
réussit toujours pas à faire l'histoire, est une plaie. Après trente ans,
alors que rien n'est plus semblable à ce qui existait alors ­ ni les
personnes, ni la situation historique ­, cela a-t-il encore un sens de
vouloir punir ? N'y a-t-il pas de prescription juridique quand les âmes et
les corps sont devenus autres, et que toute leur existence en est la preuve
? Ne risque-t-on pas de transformer la justice ­ celle qui a fait si
cruellement défaut à l'époque ­ en une vengeance ?

Une vengeance qui a fait de l'oeil pour oeil son credo, mais qui ne
fonctionne pas de la même manière pour tous. Les massacres provoqués par la
stratégie de la tension sont demeurés, pour la plupart, impunis. Le jour de
l'arrestation de Battisti, la magistrature italienne a décidé de débouter,
après trente ans de procès successifs, les accusations qui inculpaient
certains leaders d'extrême droite et des responsables des services secrets
de l'attentat de la Banque de l'agriculture de Milan, en 1969 : une bombe
avait provoqué une véritable hécatombe. Les responsables peuvent dormir
tranquilles, ils n'ont pas besoin d'amnistie, ils sont déjà amnistiés.

Mais, pour l'extrême gauche, point d'amnistie. Cette page de l'histoire ne
sera pas tournée, parce que cela voudrait dire précisément qu'on a
finalement accepté d'en faire l'histoire véritable. La gauche italienne se
refuse à faire une amnistie par peur que Berlusconi et ses amis en
profitent. Berlusconi et ses amis n'en ont pas besoin, ils se sont
autoamnistiés depuis longtemps.

Les intellectuels qui font aujourd'hui l'apologie de l'Etat de droit
italien, qui existait selon eux dans les années 70, sont aveugles, ignorants
ou cyniques. La doctrine Mitterrand n'a pas eu de grandes prétentions. Elle
a simplement enregistré un non-fonctionnement de la justice et
l'impossibilité de la classe politique italienne à donner des réponses
politiques à un mouvement de contestation poussé peu à peu à l'extrémisme
par le choix de la répression. La doctrine Mitterrand a permis à des
dizaines de personnes d'abandonner la spirale infernale du recours aux armes
et de choisir une autre vie, un autre parcours. C'est sur cette base qu'elle
a été confirmée par les gouvernements de cohabitation qui se sont succédé à
partir de 1986, à commencer par celui à la tête duquel se trouvait Jacques
Chirac, alors Premier ministre. En liaison étroite avec la Caritas
italienne, l'Eglise de France a, elle aussi, toujours appuyé fermement
l'engagement qui avait été pris.

Il reste aujourd'hui le problème de l'amnistie politique pour les années de
plomb. Certains croient que le pardon est une faiblesse. Nous pensons, au
contraire, que seul le pardon est la mesure d'une force politique véritable,
parce que seul le pardon peut aujourd'hui permettre à l'Italie de se libérer
des fantômes des années 70.

Mais, en Italie, tout cela est sans doute encore impossible, parce qu'il y
règne une opacité qui ne permet pas à l'histoire de se faire, à moins que,
comme aujourd'hui, les acteurs directs ne se décident ­ bien malgré eux,
parce qu'il n'y a pas d'autre solution possible ­ à reprendre la parole.
L'Italie du XXIe siècle éprouve à l'égard des années de plomb la difficulté
qu'a eu longtemps la France à l'égard de Vichy ou de la guerre d'Algérie.
Nous demandons aujourd'hui que, comme en France, cette histoire soit écrite,
afin qu'elle cesse enfin d'être le tabou de la mémoire et du pardon.

Traduit de l'italien par Judith Revel

© Libération

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