Italy’s Most Wanted Terrorist Arrested
ROME (AP) _ Italy’s most wanted terrorist was arrested today, police said. She is Barbara Balzerani, convicted in absentia for the 1978 abduction and murder of former Premier Aldo Moro and suspected in the 1981 kidnapping of U.S. Brig. Gen. James L. Dozier.
Ms. Balzerani, 36, a top leader of the Red Brigades urban guerrilla gang, was arrested in Ostia at the apartment of a man with whom she had been living, police said.
Police said they raided the apartment after receiving a tip from a terrorist turned police informer who was identified as Gianluigi Cristiani.
Divorced from Antonio Marini, another Red Brigades leader, Ms. Balzerani was described until last year as a girlfriend of Mario Moretti, a founder of the extreme leftist gang, who is serving a life sentence for the Moro assassination.
Until her disappearance in 1978, Ms. Balzerani had been directing the Red Brigades operation in the Milan area, police alleged.
Prosecutors have said she continued to play a leading role while in hiding, hatching terrorist plots that included the Dec. 17. 1981, kidnapping of Dozier from his apartment in Verona. The general was rescued by a police commando on Jan. 28, 1982 in the northern city of Padua near Venice.
Described as a key member of the ″executive council″ of the Red Brigades, Ms. Balzerani was sentenced to life imprisonment after being tried for the kidnapping and murder of Moro, a former president of the Christian Democrats party and a five-time premier. The sentence was upheld by an appeals court earlier this year.
She also drew a life sentence for Dozier’s kidnapping, but an appeals court later ordered that she and three others be retried.
Interior Minister Oscar Luigi Scalfaro said Ms. Balzerani’s capture ″confirms our most devoted commitment to fighting organized terrorist groups.″
During a recent election campaign, Premier Bettino Craxi declared that organized crime, rather than terrorism, had become the nation’s No. 1 law enforcement concern.
With the help of terrorists who have turned state’s evidence, police during the past two years have rounded up hundreds of terrorists, left-wing and right-wing.