After 50 years, Italian President Sergio Mattarella has pardoned a South Tyrolean activist who was involved in bomb attacks, the president’s Quirinal Palace announced.
Heinrich Oberleiter, now 80, was involved in bomb attacks in the German-speaking Italian province of South Tyrol in the 1960s, for which he was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment in 1971.
Oberleiter was part of a group from the Puster valley district and fled abroad.
He has since been living in Lower Franconia in Germany but can now return to his homeland after being pardoned.
His children sent a plea for clemency to Mattarella in 2018.
The Italian president justified his decision, among other things, saying no one died in the attacks.
He said Oberleiter showed remorse and the public prosecutor’s office in Brescia was also in favour of a pardon.
The German-speaking Alpine region was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and was gifted to Italy in a treaty at the end of World War I.
After World War II, South Tyrol fought for its independence.
Oberleiter and the other men in his group were blamed for the murder of a member of the Carabinieri Italian police force in 1964.
However, they were exonerated later following new testimonies.
Those living in exile, Oberleiter is the first of the group to be pardoned.