> ANSA English > News

Human Rights Court rejects Riina appeal against conditions

Cosa Nostra boss said jail regime breached rights

03 April, 13:43
Human Rights Court rejects Riina appeal against conditions (ANSA) - Strasbourg, April 3 - The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Thursday rejected an appeal by Mafia 'boss of bosses' Salvatore (Totò) Riina against his jail conditions. The 83-year-old said his rights were breached because he is being constantly monitored by video systems in prison.

The video surveillance recently made it possible for investigators to record Riina talking to fellow inmates about orders he issued from behind bars to kill Italian prosecutors and him gloating over details of his past crimes.

"Mr Riina had not exhausted domestic remedies in respect of his complaints concerning the video surveillance in Ascoli Piceno Prison, since he had not lodged an appeal on points of law, which constituted an adequate and effective remedy," read an ECHR statement. "Likewise, he had not lodged any appeal against the video surveillance in Milan Opera Prison. The application therefore had to be rejected for failure to exhaust domestic remedies".

In recent years Riina has sought to be granted house arrest because of his poor health and age, which his lawyers argued were incompatible with the tough '41-bis' high security prison regime for Italy's most dangerous criminals.

Riina, who is serving out 12 life sentences, has had three heart bypasses and is said to be suffering from back and thyroid problems, as well as suspected prostate cancer. Last year the supreme court threw out an appeal by Riina against his jail conditions.

Until his arrest in 1993, Riina was the Sicilian Mafia's leading don. He was convicted of a range of crimes including ordering the car-bombings that killed anti-Mob magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992.