The Roman Catholic charity, Caritas International, said in Rome on Monday (24 April) that it had still received no word from the Red Brigades, kidnappers of former Italian premier Aldo Moro, more than 48 hours after their death sentence deadline had expired.
The Roman Catholic charity, Caritas International, said in Rome on Monday (24 April) that it had still received no word from the Red Brigades, kidnappers of former Italian premier Aldo Moro, more than 48 hours after their death sentence deadline had expired. Caritas International agreed to a request by the ruling Christian Democratic party, of which Signor Moro is president, to try to find out the Red Brigades' exact terms for freeing him. But by mid-morning they had not received any communication from the violent, ultra-left extremists.
SYNOPSIS: 61-year-old Signor Moro was kidnapped on the 16th of March, and the Red Brigades had said they would carry out a death sentence on Saturday imposed by their "people's court", if the Government did not start talks by their deadline.
Throughout, the Government of Premier Giulio Andreotti had rejected what it termed "blackmail" by the Red Brigades, and there was no sign of change in policy after the Christian Democrat secretary Benigno Zaccagnini had received a personal plea, from Signor Moro. In the letter, the former Italian Premier accused his colleagues of "indifference and cynicism", and told them "It is possible you are all in agreement in wanting my death for a supposed reason of State".
After Signor Moro's desperate plea from captivity, the Christian Democratic party asked Caritas International to act as go-betweens with the guerrillas, but as the 'execution deadline' approached they had heard nothing.
As Signor Moro's family waited at home for news, Caritas International president, George Huessler, made a radio appeal from Freiburg, in West Germany.
Crowds gathered outside the Christian Democratic party's headquarters, and shortly before the deadline expired a Franciscan monk delivered an envelope.
In the early days of his kidnapping Signor Moro suggested that the Vatican might help in mediation, and twice over the weekend Pope Paul appealed for the former premier's release. On Saturday Pope Paul made an anguished handwritten appeal to the Red Brigades, and on Sunday he made another dramatic personal plea.
On Saturday many Italians waited anxiously for news as the Red Brigades deadline came and passed. Some chose to visit the Via Fani where Signor Moro was kidnapped. Hopes for Signor Moro's safety increased, when a lawyer for the Red Brigades Giannino Guiso, was quoted by newspapers as saying that he believed the pleas from the Pope, and United Nations Secretary General, Kurt Waldheim, might have persuaded the guerrillas to postpone their deadline.