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Sunday April 21, 2024

More than 200 mobsters get over 2,000 years in historic Italian mafia trial

By AFP
November 21, 2023
After a trial that lasted two years and nine months, the court doled out about 2,150 years collectively. — AFP File
After a trial that lasted two years and nine months, the court doled out about 2,150 years collectively. — AFP File

LAMEZIA TERME, Italy: An Italian court on Monday convicted more than 200 mobsters and their white-collar helpers, the culmination of a historic, nearly three-year trial against Calabria´s notorious ´Ndrangheta mafia.

For over an hour and a half, the president of the court in southern Vibo Valentia, Brigida Cavasino, steadily read out the names of the guilty and their sentences, which ranged from 30 years to a few months, as defendants incarcerated in prisons across the country watched via videolink.

Prosecutors had asked for sentences totalling nearly 5,000 years for 322 accused mafia members operating in the Calabrian province of Vibo Valentia and their collaborators who have exercised a virtual stranglehold over the local population.

But after a trial that lasted two years and nine months, the court doled out under half that total time, about 2,150 years collectively, with the convictions of 207 defendants Monday. That included four seasoned members of the ´Ndrangheta each sentenced to three decades in jail.

The three-judge panel acquitted 131 defendants, including one whom prosecutors said controlled mafia activities within the prison and another accused of helping commandeer a public road and adjoining private land to use for grazing sheep. Underscoring the ´Ndrangheta´s close ties with the powerful, one of the trial´s most high-profile defendants was 70-year-old former parliamentarian and defence lawyer Giancarlo Pittelli, accused of being a fixer for the mafia.