In a case never seen before in history, the Justice, through the brazilian Supreme Court, is in process of annuling a political refugee status and possibly giving order to president Lula to extradite Battisti to Italy, where he will face a life sentence for murders he did not committed, at best, or even being murdered and torture as many right wing italian groups and italian politicians have said they wish to, including associations of prison guards.
Aside the terrible injustice in course against the freedom and life of Cesare Battisti, this decision will mean, among other things, a terrible backward for political refugee as a institution, in Brazil and over the world, as stated a representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (see, in portuguese, http://cesarelivre.org/node/99 )
A site in support of Cesare: http://cesarelivre.org/ where you can find a lot of stuff about the case in portuguese and some links in french.
Please, spread the word, get involved if you can, and send e-mails to president Lula asking to keep Battiti in Brasil and free: firstname.lastname@example.org
Below, a introduction made by Wu Ming (the italian novelists collective) and the letter written by Cesare Battisti.
[With the following open letter to Brazilian president Lula Da Silva, the Italian novelist Cesare Battisti, former member of the Proletari Armati per il Comunismo,
announced he was going on total hunger strike. As yet, very few people in the English speaking world know about this case (a fugitive from Italy's "Years of Lead" who, although he was granted political refugee status by the Brazilian government, is still in prison and risking extradition to Italy, where he was charged with four murders, judged in absentia and sentenced guilty on the basis of testimonies by "repentant" terrorists). Since there is no English version of the FAQs on Cesare Battisti, the only resource is the English language wikipedia entry (which fails to
render the complexity of this story). In the past days the news of Battisti's hunger strike was reported by the BBC and the LA Times. Here is an article (in English) [ http://thecommune.wordpress.com/2009/03/11/cesare-battisti-goodbye-mr-socialism-and-new-thing/ ] by Brazilian activist Leo Vinicius, giving at least some context.
Open letter to Honourable Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, President of the Republic of Brazil and Chief Magistrate of the Brazilian Nation, and to the Brazilian people
"Thirty years change many things in human life, and sometimes make a life." Albert Camus, The man in revolt
If we look at our past from a historical point of view, how many among us can honestly say they never wanted to assert their own humanity, to develop all its aspects in wide freedom? Very few are the men and women of my generation who did not dream of a different world, one that would be more just.
However, out of sheer curiosity or circumstances, only a few decided to embark on the fight, sacrificing their own life.
My personal story is well enough known and there is no need to explain again the causes that led me to choose armed struggle. You just have to know that we were thousands, some died, others were arrested, and many are in exile.
We knew we could end this way. How many examples of failing revolutions has history provided us with? Halts and restarts, mistakes and losses. But not everything is lost, the dream is still alive!
Today Italians are enjoying many social achievements that were won through the blood shed by those fellows of utopia. I am a fruit of the 1970s, like many others here in Brazil, including many comrades who are now responsible for the fate of the Brazilian people. I actually have not lost anything, because I did not fight for gaining something, but now, held here in Brazil as I am, I can not accept the humiliation of being treated as a common criminal.
I am now facing the stunning obstinacy with which some judges of the Supreme Court refuse to see how 1970s Italy really was: they deny the purpose of my actions, close their eyes in front of the complete lack of evidence that I am guilty of the four murders attributed to me, and fail to recognise the flaws in my trial or accept the prescriptions and all the other impediments to extradition.
Above all, it is surprising and absurd that, whereas Italy convicted me for my political activities, in Brazil a few insist on wanting me extradited on the basis of my being a common criminal. It is absurd, mainly because the Brazilian government has granted me refugee status, a decision for which I will be eternally grateful.
Confronted with the enormous difficulties of winning this battle against the powerful Italian government - which resorted to every argument, tool and weapon - I have no choice but to go, from now on, on total hunger strike, to demand that I can enjoy the rights granted to me with the status of refugee and political prisoner.
With this last act of desperation, I hope I can stop this extradition, which to me is tantamount to a death sentence.
Although I always fought for life, if I have to die I'm ready, but never by the hand of my executioners. In this country, in Brazil, I will continue my fight to the end, and no matter how tired I am, I'll never give up fighting for the truth, the factual truth that some insist on not wanting to see. It is the worst kind of blindness, the one of those who do not want to see.
I end this letter by thanking the comrades who have been on my side since the beginning of my fight and have never left me, as well as those who arrived more recently but are as much important. To you, my sincere thanks. As a last suggestion, I recommend that you continue the fight for your ideals and beliefs. It's worth doing it.
I hope that the legacy of those who fell in the battle will not be in vain. We may lose a battle, but I am convinced that victory in this war is reserved for those who generously fight for the cause of justice and freedom.
I put my life in the hands of Your Excellency and the Brazilian people.
Brasilia, November 13, 2009