The body of Italy's kidnapped ex-premier Aldo Moro was found in a car outside the Communist party headquarters in Rome on Tuesday (9 May).
The body of Italy's kidnapped ex-premier Aldo Moro was found in a car outside the Communist party headquarters in Rome on Tuesday (9 May). It was 54 days since Signor Moro, 61, was kidnapped and his five bodyguards slain, in Rome by Red Brigades terrorists on March the 16th. On Tuesday, after an anonymous tip-off by telephone, police sped to the Vis Caetani and found his body wrapped in several blankets on the rear seat of a Renault car. Police said he had been shot at least four times in the chest, and an eye-witness said he appeared to have been dead for several days. When news of Signor Moro's death spread throughout Italy, workers in many areas staged on-the-spot work stoppages to show their rejection of Red Brigades violence. Messages of condolence for his family, and for the Italian people, poured in from world leaders, including President Carter and Queen Elizabeth.
SYNOPSIS: With bad news travelling fast, streets near the spot where his body was found were soon choked with people. Italy's most massive manhunt of modern times had reached its sad end.
Dumping the body here was considered another blow for the Red Brigades in the psychological war it has waged throughout the Moro saga. It is in the heavily-policed heart of Rome, and very close to both the Communist Party offices and headquarters of Signor Moro's party, the Christian Democrats. This was the first time a politician of his eminence had been abducted and murdered by urban guerrillas in any country.
The Red Brigades had demanded the release of thirteen jailed terrorists in exchange for bis life. However, Christian Democratic Premier Giulio Andreotti, backed by all main political parties, had flatly refused to negotiate.
After being blessed at a church near where it was found, Signor Moro's body was taken to Rome University, Here, an autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday (10 May) to determine his exact time of death. Members of his family viewed the body at the Institute of Forensic Medicine. His widow, Eleonora, had criticised the Christian Democrats for refusing to negotiate a prisoner exchange.
Meanwhile, in Turin, the trial of Red Brigades prisoners continued. They are facing subversion charges. Last Friday (5 May) the extreme Left-wing Brigades announced they would carry out their repeated threat to 'execute' Signor Moro because the government had refused to comply with their demands for an exchange. Brigades leader, Renato Curcio, and three Lieutenants, are on trial.
In Milan, as in other Italian cities, demonstrators took to the streets on hearing of Signor Moro's death. Trade union leaders, many of whom are communists, convened mass demonstrations. They were showing their opposition to the Brigades, who call themselves a 'fighting Communist organisation' dedicated to the overthrow of the Italian state.
In Rome, marchers tramped past the Coliseum, many weeping and carrying portraits of the slain politician. During his long ordeal, Signor Moro had written fifteen letters to the Italian government appealing for an exchange to set him free. His captors had subjected him to what they called a people's trial in a people's jail as hundreds of police and troops had searched in vain for their hideout. In the long weeks since his abduction, crowds had gathered daily as the spot where he was taken and his bodyguards killed. Their sorrow deepened on Tuesday after they learned that he, too, had been murdered.