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France denies extradition of former Red Brigades

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October 12, 2000 


BASTIA, Corsica (AP) - A court on Wednesday rejected an Italian extradition request for Alvaro Loiacono, former member of the Red Brigades terrorist group, and accused of participating in the 1978 murder of Italian Premier Aldo Moro.

Loiacono, 50, was to be set free. It was not immediately clear when that would be.

Italian authorities had been searching for Loiacono for 22 years for his alleged role in Moro's death. He was arrested on a Corsican beach in June by French police acting under an international warrant.

However, the court in Bastia, in upper Corsica, ruled that sending Loiacono to serve life sentences in Italy - where he was convicted in absentia three times - would be a violation of French law and of the fundamental rights of the accused.

French law stipulates that if a criminal is caught after being judged in absentia, he must be retried so he can defend himself - not possible during a trial in absentia. Italian Law does not allow for retrial in such cases.

Loiacono was wanted for several murders committed between 1975 and 1979, as well as for his alleged participation in the March 16, 1978, murder of Moro, who had been kidnapped by the Red Brigades. His body turned up 55 days after the kidnapping, found in a parked car.

Italian courts sentenced Loiacono to a 16-year prison term and to two life sentences in trial in 1980, 1985 and 1996 - all in absentia.

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