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Provenzano bid to get out of tough jail regime fails

Ex-Cosa Nostra chief will have to stay in '41-bis'

11 February, 12:52
Provenzano bid to get out of tough jail regime fails (ANSA) - Palermo, January 11 - Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri on Tuesday rejected an appeal from former Mafia boss of bosses Bernardo Provenzano to be let out of a tough prison regime because of ill health.

Provenzano, who turned 81 on January 31 and is suffering from Parkinson's and related disorders, will have to stay in isolation and observe other strict provisions of a law known as 41-bis.

The petition from the ex-Cosa Nostra chief, who is also appealing to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, was backed for the first time by prosecutors in Palermo, Caltanissetta and Florence.

The former boss's family appealed to Cancellieri after a Rome court turned him down in October. That came after an initial April ruling by then justice minister Paola Severino.

Provenzano's lawyers have long argued that his failing mental and physical health no longer make him a risk.

After previously saying he was still able to pull some strings despite his ill health, the prosecutors have now ruled this out.

Arrested in 2006 after 43 years on the run, Provenzano has been subjected to the 41-bis treatment for Italy's most dangerous criminals ever since.

They can be kept in single-person cells in maximum-security jails, almost entirely cut off from the outside world in order to prevent further criminal activity.

The ex-mafia chieftain, once nicknamed 'The Bulldozer' because of the way he "mowed down" rivals, is serving life for various murders including ordering fatal bomb attacks on anti-mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992.