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Prosecutor must die, Mafia boss Riina says from prison

Court told that mobster threatens judges, lawyers in case

13 November, 15:17
Prosecutor must die, Mafia boss Riina says from prison (ANSA) - Palermo, November 13 - Former Cosa Nostra Mafia "boss of bosses" Totò Riina shouted for the death of justice officials, including a deputy prosecutor, from his prison cell during hearings into an alleged deal between mobsters and the Italian government, an Italian newspaper reported Wednesday.

As a result of Riina's threats, authorities considered moving deputy prosecutor Nino Di Matteo and his family to a secret location for their protection, according to La Repubblica, which cited a prison guard as its source.

The newspaper said that Di Matteo was only one of several officials threatened by Riina as he 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.

"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 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, attorney general of Palermo.