The Italian Government has firmly rejected appeals from both the Red Brigades, and Aldo Moro for a prisoner exchange which would free the former prime minister from his 40-day captivity.
SV INTERIOR: Rome newspaper office, staff member with newspaper headline "Appeal from Moro"
SV ZOOM INTO CU: man holding Moro letter. (3 shots)
GV EXTERIOR: Rome Christian Democrat Party headquarters.
GV EXTERIOR: Rome office of 'La Republica' newspaper.
SV: news photographers taking pictures of Red Brigades letter. (4 shots)
SV: newsmen seated
In its statement, the Government said: "It was noted that the request for an exchange of prisoners was, and is unacceptable, because it is against freedom of all, against respect owed to victims of terrorism, and against the legal system of the Republic???.". The Government also said, that despite the proposal for a prisoner exchange, the authorities believed the Red Brigades had no intention of letting Signor Moro go. The statement ended with a re-affirmation that the government respected the will of parliament, where Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti declared on 4 April, "We refuse in the strongest terms any acceptance of blackmail".
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Background: The Italian Government has firmly rejected appeals from both the Red Brigades, and Aldo Moro for a prisoner exchange which would free the former prime minister from his 40-day captivity. After meeting on Monday night (24 April) the Government issued a statement saying such an exchange would be unacceptable. In this letter published in the Rome evening newspaper 'Vita', Signor Moro said almost all civilised countries accepted exchanges to save innocent lives, and asked: "Why is there a different code in Italy". Signor Moro also bitterly attacked the Government for not negotiating his release, and said he wanted no representatives of the state at his funeral.
SYNOPSIS: The letter from Signor Moro was the latest in a series of anguished pleas to try to get the Christian Democrats, the party of which he is president, to agree to an exchange of prisoners proposed by the Red Brigades. The letter said: "Zero hour has arrived" We are at the moment of the massacre". Signor Moro said he could not accept what he described as the unjust sentence pronounced upon him by the Christian Democrat Party, which has refused negotiations with the kidnappers. "If I die" said Signor Moro "you are all to blame".
The latest communique from the Red Brigades was sent to a leading Italian newspaper 'La Republica'. In it, it said that the former prime minister would be killed at an unspecified time, unless the authorities released 13 members of the group. The list, 12 men and one woman, included their leader Renato Curcio, and others on trial with him in Turin. It was the first time the kidnappers had named the people they wanted in exchange for Signor Moro.
The communique was released simultaneously in Genoa, Milan, and Turin, and it demanded an immediate reply.