SAO PAULO -- A Brazilian federal prosecutor filed a petition Thursday seeking to annul the residency visa granted to a former leftist rebel from Italy convicted in his homeland of four murders carried out in the late 1970s.
Prosecutor Helio Heringer said the visa granted in June to Cesare Battisti should be annulled because it violates Brazil's Foreigner's Law, which prohibits foreigners convicted of a felony in another country from receiving residency.
Heringer is also seeking Battisti's deportation to France or Mexico, where he lived before arriving in Brazil in 2004, or "to any other country that agrees to receive him"
A statement from the federal prosecutor's office in Brasilia said Heringer is not seeking Battisti's extradition to Italy because that would go against a decision made by former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Before leaving office, Silva denied Italy's extradition request last December.
The office of Battisti's lawyer, Luiz Eduardo Greenhalgh, said he was not available for comment.
Brazil's Supreme Court upheld Silva's decision in June and ruled against Battisti's extradition.
Two weeks later, Brazil's National Immigration Council granted Battisti a residency visa, giving him the same rights as all Brazilian citizens, except the right to vote.
Battisti escaped from an Italian prison in 1981 while awaiting trial on four counts of murder, crimes allegedly committed when he was a member of the Armed Proletarians for Communism. He was convicted in absentia in 1990, and sentenced to life in prison.
Battisti moved first to Mexico, then to France in 1990, where he remade himself as an author. He fled to Brazil in 2004 when France changed its policy on giving asylum to former Italian militants who had renounced their convictions.
Battisti was arrested in Rio de Janeiro in 2007 at the request of the international police agency Interpol and remained jailed until the Brazilian Supreme Court's ruling in June.
Over the years, Battisti has restated his claim of innocence.
In his book "My Escape," or "Ma Cavale," published in France in 2006, he wrote: "I am guilty, as I have often said, of having participated in an armed group with a subversive aim and of having carried weapons. But I never shot anyone."