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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 June, 2004, 21:55 GMT 22:55 UK
Life term for 'Red Brigade' woman
Nadia Desdemona Lioce
Lioce says she is a political prisoner and ought to be tried as such
An Italian court has given a life sentence to a woman linked to resurgent left-wing guerrillas the Red Brigades.

Nadia Desdemona Lioce, 44, was arrested after a bloody gunfight on the Rome-Florence train in March 2003.

Her travelling companion, Mario Galesi, was killed after he shot dead a police officer checking their identity papers.

Both Galesi and Lioce were fugitives, believed to have ties to the Red Brigades, linked to many acts of violence in Italy 30 years ago.

The guerrillas are notorious for having kidnapped and killed the former Italian Prime Minister, Aldo Moro, in 1978.

A new group, claiming descent from the brigades, announced their arrival in 1999 with the murder of labour ministry adviser Massimo D'Antona.

The militants also said they were behind the 2002 murder of another labour ministry official, Marco Biagi.

'Political prisoner'

Lioce is still under investigation for her alleged role in the two assassinations.

Although she did not fire any shots in the encounter that led to her arrest on the train, the court ruled she was guilty of attempted murder and of being an accomplice to murder.

It handed her a life sentence and ordered her to pay damages of $500,000 to the family of the murdered policeman, Emanuele Petri.

Lioce has described herself as a "political prisoner" and "militant" and says she will appeal against the ruling.

Her lawyer has argued that she should be tried under Italian civil - rather than criminal - law because her group believes itself to be at war with the Italian state.

The BBC's Frances Kennedy in Rome says this is the first trial of a member of the new formation of the Red Brigades.

Investigators claim Lioce's capture revealed information which has led to a series of arrests that have broken the back of the group.

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20 Mar 02  |  Europe


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