Film and Culture Figures Angered After Arrest of Far-Left Terrorists

Swiss French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard Godard looks on prior to receive the "Grand Prix Design" during the Swiss Federal Design Awards 2010 award ceremony on November 30, 2010 in Zurich. Godard who received an Oscar for his life's cinematic achievements last November 14, 2010 will mark his 80th …

Legendary film director Jean-Luc Godard is one of the thirty cultural figures who have written a letter demanding French president Emmanuel Macron not extradite seven far-left terrorists at the request of the Italian government.

Godard, well-known for many films including Breathless (1960) and Alphaville (1965), is one of the several signatories to a letter addressed to the French president after the arrest of seven Italian far-left extremists accused of violence and murder in the 1970s as part of the Red Brigades terrorist group.

The letter, which was published by the left-leaning newspaper Liberation, notes that several of the Red Brigades members were allowed into France by former socialist president Francois Mitterand on the condition that they give up political violence.

“Forty years ago, several dozen people came out of hiding, laid down their arms, had their files examined by the highest authorities of the French intelligence, police and justice services: their stay in France was accepted and then formalized by the issuance of residence cards,” the letter complains.

“They contributed to national wealth through their work for several decades, some were even employed by the French state. All have fulfilled their commitment to renounce violence,” the signatories added.

Italian newspaper Il Giornale reacted to the letter as a “horrid manifesto” and condemned the signatories for equating the far-left terrorists, who had fled to France to escape justice for murders, to refugees.

“[Y]es, their arrest amounts, as you write, to accusing the French ‘of having protected murderers for forty years.’ Because that’s exactly what happened: the Elysée protected criminals,” the newspaper declared.

The Red Brigades were a major perpetrator of political violence in Italy from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, known as the Years of Lead, in which violence by far-left and far-right terrorist groups led to the deaths of 428 people and injured at least 2,000 others.

According to the news agency Reuters, one of the seven Red Brigades members arrested was Giorgio Pietrostefani, who had been sentenced to 22 years in prison for murdering Milan police commissioner Luigi Calabresi in 1972.

The arrest of the far-left terrorists comes after notorious terrorist Cesare Battisti was extradited from Brazil in 2019 due to co-operation between populist president Jair Bolsonaro and former Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini.

Prior to fleeing to Brazil, Battisti, like the Red Brigade members recently arrested, had first fled to France to escape Italian justice.

Now serving a life sentence for four murders, Battisti went on a hunger strike in September of last year, claiming he should be released due to the Wuhan virus pandemic, and complained about his prison conditions.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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