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Mobster says Riina made more threats against prosecutor

Cosa Nostra boss accused of verbal attacks on justice officials

05 December, 16:07
Mobster says Riina made more threats against prosecutor (ANSA) - Palermo, December 5 - Former Cosa Nostra Mafia "boss of bosses" Totò Riina issued further threats against Palermo deputy prosecutor Nino Di Matteo from prison, according to an intercepted conversation with another jailed mobster released Thursday.

Reports in mid-November caused a sensation by quoting a prison guard as saying that Riina shouted for the death of justice officials, including Di Matteo, from his prison cell during hearings into an alleged deal between mobsters and the Italian government.

Now, intercepts of a conversation with another mob figure in prison with Riina show the Corleone Mafia boss uttered further threats against the deputy prosecutor.

"This Di Matteo, we are not to forget," Riina apparently said on November 14, shortly after reports of his earlier death threats became public.

"Corleone does not forget," Riina told a member of the Puglia region's Sacra Corona Unita mafia, who shares exercise time in prison with Riina.

Riina's earlier threats led to a swell of public support and increased security around Di Matteo who was threatened by Riina as the Mafia boss watched video of an ongoing Palermo trial into secret negotiations between the Italian State and the Mafia two decades ago.

"Di Matteo must die...they're making me crazy," Riina shouted, according to a guard quoted by La Repubblica newspaper.

"Those guys have to die, if it's the last thing I do," added Riina.

Riina, known as The Beast, is in maximum security prison in Milan for crimes including ordering the 1992-1993 slayings of anti-Mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.

Their murders were among the crimes that allegedly induced the State to enter the secret talks with Cosa Nostra in a bid to stop attacks after a long campaign of violence.

Riina's family has been campaigning to have him moved from maximum security, saying he is extremely ill and frail.

While justice officials took Riina's threats seriously, they ultimately decided that instead of moving Di Matteo and his family into hiding, they would increase their security.

That included a blocking device to prevent remote-controlled bombs being detonated at a distance.

According to the earlier reports, Riina also spoke of "one who was in Caltanissetta and is now in Palermo, one who is extremely busy," and authorities say he was likely referring to Roberto Scarpinato, chief prosecutor of Palermo.

Days after the media reports of Riina's earlier threats, 1,000 activists from various anti-Mafia organizations marched through the Sicilian city of Palermo in solidarity with Di Matteo.