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Archive for Sunday, September 8, 2002

Report says Mafia bosses to target Italian politicians

Prison conditions for La Cosa Nostra at issue

September 8, 2002

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— Fed up with serving hard time, Mafia bosses are planning violent attacks in Italy that could target Parliament members, a newspaper reported said Saturday.

The Rome daily La Repubblica said internal documents from the domestic intelligence agency SISDE indicated that two members of Parliament, Marcello Dell'Utri and Cesare Previti, could be targeted by the mob.

At issue, the report said, are tough prison conditions imposed in response to a Mafia reign of terror in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The prison terms include isolation in cells and only one visit and one phone call each month.

The newspaper quoted an intelligence document as saying that the Mafia had restored some of the power it lost in the 1990s, and that it was now determined to strike public officials.

According to La Repubblica, one intelligence document says: "This state of affairs makes keeping up ties between fugitives and the imprisoned bosses an even more pressing need for the Mafia, something that the imprisonment rules make very precarious."

The detention law comes up for renewal every year and the government is considering extending it for four years, with some lawmakers saying it should become permanent.

The intelligence document says that "information brings us to consider it highly probable that, in the short- and medium-term, Cosa Nostra will return to hitting selectively and symbolically."

A previous Mafia campaign of violence culminated in the 1992 murders of the popular gang-busting Sicilian prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. The killings caused an unprecedented wave of public anger that prompted the government to step up its war on the mob.

The newspaper report said the Mafia is determined not to let that happen again, and so plans to strike at political figures whom the public might consider tainted by alleged ties to the mob.

Previti denied any ties to criminality.

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