The Italian government has firmly rejected appeals from both the Red Brigades and kidnapped former premier Aldo Moro for a prisoner exchange to secure his release.
CU PAN GV EXTERIOR In St Peters Square Pope Paul speaks from balcony
SV INTERIOR Professor Franco Ferrarotti speaking in English
SV Newspaper headlines (22 April) of Aldo More
SV Millionaire Israeli member of Parliament, Mr. Samuel Flato-Sharon in Jerusalem speaking in English
FERRAROTTI: "I am afraid not because such an organisation cannot afford really to be too sensitive to spiritual appeal or pure and simple political prestige. I think they have to look to a sort of short time effectiveness first of all and they cannot afford to be soft."
REPORTER: "Well, in that case professor, do you think the Red Brigades will kill him?"
FERRAROTTI: "Well, there is a strong possibility in fact and, of course, it's a tragic prospect that Mr. Moro will be killed, but it is nothing new because the Red Brigades have been killing people practically every day you know. Minor people, but after all these are all human lives which have been taken. You see the largest covert terrorist organisation really rests, is linked with crime. It is a matter of credibility for them. If they would not kill him then, perhaps they would not be believed in the future and that would undermine any kind of ability to perform. Any power."
SHARON: "After contacting certain people I decided to propose through the (indistinct) Italian Agency in Israel among other, an offer of five million dollars, which I can raise up to the Red Brigades in Italy if they liberate, alive of course, President Aldo Moro."
Mr. Flato-Sharon said he would provide the money to the Brigades within 48 hours of reaching agreement with them over Moro's release. The Italian government's rejection of Signor Moro and the Red Brigades' appeals came in a statement after a meeting of leading ministers. It read: "It was noted that the request for an exchange of prisoners was, and is unacceptable, because it is against the freedom of all, against respect owed to victims of terrorism and against the legal system of the republic." They said that despite the proposal for a prisoner exchange, they believed the Red Brigades had no intention of letting Mr. Moro escape alive. In his letter, which was published in the Rome evening newspaper 'Vita', Mr. Moro said almost all civilised countries accepted prisoner exchanges to same innocent lives and asked "Why is there a different code in Italy?"
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Background: The Italian government has firmly rejected appeals from both the Red Brigades and kidnapped former premier Aldo Moro for a prisoner exchange to secure his release. Meanwhile a millionaire Israeli politician has offered a ransom payment to the Brigades for Signor Moro. Controversial member of the Israeli parliament, Mr. Samuel Flato-Sharon is offering to pay the Brigades five million dollars for the captured politician. The moves follow what appears to be a last desperate plea form Signor Moro for the government to save his life. In a letter found on Monday (23 April) in Rome, Signor Moro said time was running out. He said it was now a "question of seconds moro than minutes" and added "We are at the moment of massacre". He called on his party to meet the Brigades' demand for the release of 13 extreme Left-wing prisoners, including the Brigades' leader, Renato Curcio, in return for his life.
SYNOPSIS: Both Pope Paul and the United Nations General Secretary, Dr. Kurt Waldheim, have called on the Brigades to release Moro. The former University teacher of Brigade leader Renato Curcio, Professor Franco Ferrarotti, an expert on terrorism, was asked at Rome University if the appeals would influence the Brigades.
As Moro's fate remains unknown, Israeli politician Samuel Flato-Sharon has made the Brigades an offer.