Italian Radical Convicted of Murder Hangs Self in Jail

A member of the radical leftist Red Brigades terror group who was sentenced to life for the 2002 killing of a government consultant has killed herself in jail, her lawyer said Sunday.

Diana Blefari Melazzi hung herself with her bedsheet and was discovered around 10:30 p.m. Saturday in her cell in Rome's Rebibbia prison's isolation ward, the ANSA news agency reported.

Her lawyer, Caterina Calia, said she had petitioned the courts for over four years to have Blefari hospitalized because she suffered such serious psychiatric problems. "All our motions were rejected," she said, adding that her client's suicide was almost inevitable given the conditions of her imprisonment.

Blefari and four other members of the Red Brigades were convicted in 2005 for the 2002 slaying of government labor consultant Marco Biagi. Italy's highest court upheld her life sentence just last week.

Biagi had been advising the government on bitterly contested labor reforms when he was shot to death March 19, 2002 near his home in Bologna. Days later, the Red Brigades-Combatant Communist Party claimed responsibility. The group is an offshoot of the radical leftist organization that terrorized Italy in the 1970s and 1980s.

Justice Minister Angelino Alfano ordered an administrative investigation into Blefari's death, but said that indications say she was being held in conditions that were "compatible" with her mental state. Prosecutors were also investigating.

Advocacy group Ristretti Orizzonti denounced the death, saying Blefari's detention in isolation contributed to her suicide.