Article published on the 2008-08-05 Latest update 2008-08-05 15:11 TU
Sigle des « Brigades Rouges », groupe de militants d'extrême gauche italienne principalement actif dans les années 70.
The 54-year-old is reported to have lost 20 kilogrammes and to be suffering from depression. At the end of June she was moved from her prison hospital to the Sainte-Anne hospital in Paris. She has been freed on conditon that she remains in the Parisian region.
Petrella was a senior member of Italy's left-wing armed group the Brigate Rosse, or Red Brigades. In 1992 a Rome court convicted her in absentia of killing a police officer and sentenced her to life imprisonment. She had settled in France in the early 1990s under the political asylum offered by President François Mitterrand's government.
In 2006 Italy requested her extradition and she was arrested in August last year. In June this year President Nicolas Sarkozy ordered the return to Petrella to Italian authorities. A definitive ruling on the extradition request will be handed down later this year. Sarkozy has also addressed an appeal for leniency to Italy's Premier, Silvio Berlusconi.
Petrella's lawyer has called for the application of a "humanitarian clause" which allows for an extradition to be stopped if it presents serious health problems for the prisoner.
Petrella joined the Brigate rosse in the 1970s, which saw several years of political violence. The group kidnapped and killed the former Christian Democrat Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978.