The ten far-left Italian activists who had taken refuge in France and were wanted by Rome thought they were done with justice, at least for a few years. The Paris Court of Appeal had, in fact, issued, on Wednesday June 29, an unfavorable opinion on their extradition to Italy so that they could serve sentences imposed in their absence for acts of terrorism dating back to the 1970s and 1980s. .
But the Attorney General, Rémy Heitz, has decided to appeal in cassation against the decision of the Court of Appeal, as he announced in a press release published Monday, July 4. This appeal provoked the amazement and anger of the lawyers of the Italian “asylums”, so rare is the configuration. “Never, in my entire career, have I had the right to an appeal in cassation on the decision of a court of appeal on extradition, confides Irène Terrel, lawyer for seven of the ten Italian activists. It’s incredible. »
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Antoine Comte is just as surprised. “Especially, underlines the lawyer, as in matters of extradition, the appeal is clearly limited to formal questions by the code of criminal procedure. » Article 696-15 stipulates that a possible cassation can only relate to the legal conditions under which a judgment was rendered. Clearly, “defects of form”.
The lawyers for the Italian activists, including Jean-Louis Chalanset, remain confident that the criminal chamber of the Court of Cassation will not overturn the judgment of the court of appeal favorable to their clients. They want to emphasize the solidity of the work of the appeal judges. “They worked on this file for a year and their motivations are excellent,” underlines Me Terrel. The right to a fair trial refers to Italy’s inability to organize new trials under satisfactory conditions, thirty to forty years later. The court also refers to the notion of reasonable time. Finally, the reference to the stability of family life opens the door to recognition of the asylum these people have enjoyed in France. »
For all these reasons, the defense lawyers believe that the appeal responds to political imperatives. Me Chalanset denounces “interference by the executive in the judiciary [qui] violates the separation of powers. The public prosecutor’s office had to receive instructions from the Keeper of the Seals,” he told Agence France-Presse. As for Me Comte, he sees in it “relentlessness” and “the desire to please the Italian State”.
For the lawyer representing the Italian State, William Julié, this “appeal is necessary” because the investigating chamber of the court of appeal, “without denying the seriousness of the crimes” accused of the ten former activists, “retains that the disturbance to public order has been reduced by the passage of time”. However, “the time that has passed is due to the lack of cooperation from France”, he believes.
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