Italy’s top 2 mafia bosses get 30-year prison terms in a historic trial, around 200 mobsters convicted

An Italian court on Monday ordered long jail sentences at the end of one of Italy’s largest-ever mafia trials against the Ndrangheta crime group.

Around 200 mobsters and their white-collar associates were convicted and sentenced by the court in the historic trial.

The court gave 30-year prison terms to two local Calabrian mafia leaders Saverio Razionale and Domenico Bonavota, and imposed the heaviest penalties on them.

Over 330 suspected mobsters and their alleged associates had been facing an array of charges, such as extortion, drug trafficking and theft, in a trial that lasted almost three years.

The trial was held in a converted call-centre in the Calabrian city of Lamezia Terme, with metal cages installed for the defendants.

The trial began in January 2021. Since then, the court has heard thousands of hours of testimony, including from more than 50 former mafia operatives turned state witnesses.

According to prosecutors, the Ndrangheta crime group is the most powerful mafia group in Italy, easily eclipsing the more famous Cosa Nostra gang in Sicily.

The Ndrangheta’s influence is said to be across the Europe and beyond.

Before this Calabrian trial, it was only in 1986 that hundreds of alleged mafiosi were tried simultaneously in Palermo. 

The Calabrian trial was focused primarily on one group – the Mancuso clan from the Vibo Valentia province – leaving much of the Ndrangheta’s top brass untouched. 

Among those convicted was a former politician and lawyer Giancarlo Pittelli. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison for colluding with mafias and passing on information to them. 

The Monday’s verdicts can be appealed twice.

The Ndrangheta  was entrenched in the local economy, feared by business owners and farmers, and protected by white-collar professionals and politicians.

The Ndrangheta, which was long dismissed as mere livestock thieves, flourished under the radar for decades, as authorities focussed more on efforts against Sicily’s Cosa Nostra.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Updated: 20 Nov 2023, 10:07 PM IST

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