Identikit photos of 'missing' Battisti flood the web

Photo credit: Il Fatto Quotidiano. Twenty identikit photos of Battisti have been released by Brazilian police.

ROME – For fear he may be plotting an escape plan, Brazilian police have released several identikit photos of fugitive terrorist Cesare Battisti in a bid to catch him once and for all. He was reported missing just days before Brazilian Supreme Court judge Luis Fux ordered his arrest, a move that paved the way to his extradition.

 As many as 20 identikit photos have been produced by the police, all showing different, convincing disguises Battisti may have used to escape his arrest. According to police officers, an accessory as simple as a pair of sunglasses can easily mask someone’s true identity, and could explain how Battisti managed to escape his house in Cananéia unnoticed.

 The Brazilian Police have urged anyone with information on Battisti’s whereabouts to telephone or e-mail authorities imminently. They promise to protect the anonymity of all those who come forward.

 Battisti’s arrest was recommended some time ago by attorney general Raquel Dodge “to avoid risk of his escape.” The outgoing President of Brazil, Michel Temer, signed the decree allowing his extradition to Italy only recently, and was thanked by Italian President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella.

 Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini has said, “I am messaging the Brazilian President at the moment, and people are calling me extremist and Fascist because of this.”

 “If in the next few hours, someone asked me to catch a plane and bring back a terrorist who has many deaths on his conscience, who should be behind bars in Italy rather than on a beach in Brazil, I would board the plane.” In recent days, various sources have confirmed that many Italian agents are already in Brazil, preparing to return the terrorist to his home turf.

 Battisti was convicted of four murders in 1981, though fled to France immediately after the trial, where he had been offered sanctuary by President François Mitterrand on the condition that he “renounced his past.” The sanctuary was withdrawn 15 years later, prompting him to flee to Mexico and shortly after to Brazil, where he was awarded a protection decree in 2010 by former President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva. Battisti has consistently denied committing murder.

 Brazil’s incoming President Jair Bolsanaro promised upon his election to extradite Battisti. In the aftermath of the first round of elections, he said, “I want to reaffirm my commitment to the immediate extradition of terrorist Cesare Battisti, who is adored by the Brazilian left. This will happen if I win the elections.” Moreover, in response to a tweet by Salvini congratulating his father’s electoral victory, his son Eduardo Bolsonaro wrote, “the gift is coming!”