The investigating chamber ruling on extraditions relied on respect for private and family life and respect for judgment by default, provided for in Articles 8 and 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to support her decision, said the president.

The announcement of this joint decision was greeted by muffled testimonies of intense emotion, the former activists, now aged 61 to 78, falling into the arms of their relatives present in the courtroom.

Supporters of former activists gathered in the hallway exulted when the information reached them.

“I am very happy for my client (Enzo Calvitti), I was afraid that he would end his days in prison”, reacted his lawyer Me Jean-Louis Chalanset.

“There are several lessons to be learned for Sergio Tornaghi,” said his lawyer Me Antoine Comte. “It’s been three extradition requests which have all been rejected by courts of appeal in France. From my point of view, the Italians must be able to settle their history face to face and examine their past”, he said. added.

The ten former activists, two women and eight men, former members of the Red Brigades or an extreme left-wing armed group, had been the subject of extradition proceedings for more than a year.

To everyone’s surprise, after months of negotiations, President Emmanuel Macron decided in the spring of 2021 to promote the execution of extradition requests recently renewed by Italy.

The Italian authorities claimed these six former members of the Red Brigades and four former militants of armed groups convicted of terrorism during the “years of lead”.

“We will wait to find out if the public prosecutor’s office files an appeal in cassation against the decision” and to know the motives of the investigating chamber in detail, indicated the lawyer for the Italian state, Me William Julié.

During the hearings, which took place between March 23 and June 15, the former activists who agreed to speak told the magistrates about their life in France for sometimes forty years.

All believed they were protected on French soil, they said themselves or through the voice of their lawyers, thanks to the Mitterrand doctrine. The former president had made a commitment not to extradite former activists who had broken with their past.

A time of violent social struggles, the “years of lead”, which were marked by an escalation between ultra-right and ultra-left made up of a myriad of revolutionary groups, some of which like the Red Brigades, resulted in more than 360 deaths attributed on both sides, thousands of wounded, 10,000 arrests and 5,000 convictions.