Former Members of the Red Brigades Arrested in France

Published April 29, 2021

Former Members of the Red Brigades Arrested in France

Several former members of the Red Brigades — the revolutionary Italian guerrilla group active in the 1970s and 1980s — were arrested Wednesday in France after years of living under de facto asylum.

Seven comrades were taken into custody, all but two former members of the Red Brigades, were convicted decades ago but were able to evade capture by taking refuge in France before beginning their prison sentences. The statute of limitations on European arrest warrants for their capture were to begin expiring in December, through 2023.

Three other individuals who were not at home when French police executed the warrants evaded capture during this round of arrests.

The former Red Brigade members arrested are Marina Petrella, 66, Giovanni Alimonti, 65, Enzo Calvitti, 66, Roberta Cappelli, 65, and Sergio Tornaghi, 63. Petrella was convicted in the 1980 murder of Brigadier General of Italy’s national police and two of his bodyguards.

Also detained was Giorgio Petrostefani, 77, a militant from the far-left group Lotta Continua (Struggle Continues). Petrostefani was convicted of the 1972 shooting of Milan Police Chief Luigi Calabresi.

Calabresi was responsible for the death of anarchist Giuseppe Pinelli, who was thrown to his death from the 4th floor of police headquarters during interrogation. The police chief was shot three times from behind while he walked to his car.

Narciso Manenti, 63, from the Armed Cells Against Territorial Power was also arrested. Manenti was convicted of the 1979 killing of a Carabinieri police officer.

At its height in the 1970s, the Red Brigades was comprised of 400 to 500 full-time members, 1,000 members who helped periodically, and a few thousand supporters who provided funds and shelter.