Anti-mafia campaigner Roberto Saviano sues gangsters who ordered his death
Gomorrah author confronted Camorra bosses Francesco Bidognetti and Antonio Iovine via video link
Italy's most prominent anti-mafia campaigner has appeared in court to sue the mobsters who ordered his death.
In a high security Naples courtroom Roberto Saviano, the writer whose print expose ‘Gomorrah’ and the eponymous hit film it spawned made him a household name, finally looked his enemies in eyes - six years after he was forced into hiding.
Mr Saviano confronted Camorra bosses Francesco Bidognetti and Antonio Iovine via video link as he began the process of suing them - and two of their lawyers, Michele Santonastaso and Carmine D'Aniello - for threats and defamation, which he says came in an 2008 appeal hearing.
Through one of his lawyers, Bidognetti called Mr Saviano “one of the prosecution’s people for hire”. The convictions of the bosses were confirmed in 2010 along with other members of the Camorra’s Casalesi clan, some in absentia - the last of whom, Michele Zagaria, was found in an underground bunker beneath his home north of Naples exactly a year ago.
All are currently serving life-sentences in solitary confinement in prisons hundreds of miles from Naples.
The ruthless Casalesi clan came to the world’s attention following Mr Saviano’s book that revealed how it made hundreds of millions of euros each year by illegally dumping waste – much of it toxic, in addition to extortion rackets, drug trafficking, smuggling of illegal migrants and arms.
Today, magistrates said Bidognetti had caused massive environmental damage after a company he controlled dumped toxic materials in the 1980 and 1990s in an illegal site near Naples. They said the dumping of more than 800,000 tons of refuse - in large part toxic - produced by companies in northern Italy, meant even water supplies had become poisoned. Cancer rates in the region north of Naples are known to be much higher than elsewhere in the country.
Prominent figures including former opposition leader Walter Veltroni and the editor of La Repubblica newspaper Ezio Mauro, expected to testify on behalf of Mr Saviano. Another journalist, Rosaria Capacchione, of Il Mattino newspaper, is also suing Bidognetti and Iovine.
From the courtroom, Mr Saviano tweeted: “The trial of the Casalesi bosses and their lawyers accused of threatening me is starting. I’ll look them in the eye.”
But later he noted that the mobsters were unlikely to return the stare let alone mention his name. “Their culture commands them not to acknowledge me or pronounce my name; from their point of view that would be handing me a gift,” he said.
The news came as the trial of a minister in the last government of Silvio Berlusconi continued in Naples.
MP Nicola Cosentino, a former economy undersecretary and the PDL co-ordinator for Campania, (the region around Naples) is accused of helping the Casalesi clan, with some members of whom he is distantly related. He denies the charges.
In an open letter earlier this year, Mr Saviano accused Mr Cosentino, however, of having been at the heart of a system that bought votes with favours and “destroyed a whole territory”.
Mr Saviano today said the Silvio Berlusconi’s decision to run for premier again was “disastrous news” for those fighting organised crime. He said the ability to buy votes “for €20 each” was a factor in ex-premier decision to run for a fourth term in the upcoming general national elections.
“Berlusconi's return is partly founded on the fact that a part of the vote in Italy can be bought,” Saviano told a radio show.
- 1 Marijuana use by teenagers does not result in a lower IQ or worse exam results, study finds
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Kim Jong-un 'purge': Six North Korea officials missing for weeks 'may have been executed'
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Nathan Cirillo: Final pictures emerge of soldier moments before he was shot dead by Ottowa gunman
Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
£300 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: SSRS Report Developer – 3 Mon...
£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...
£32000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Man...
£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...