This Europe: Mafiosi spread news of jail protest over law that stops them talking
Thursday 11 July 2002
In jails across Italy, more than 300 Mafia bosses are rattling their cell bars and refusing to eat in a protest against conditions.
The hunger strike and rattling cacophony follows a letter in which mafiosi objected to parliament's Anti-Mafia Commission, which wants to extend a law that clamps down on communication between jailed mobsters and their organisations.
Under a law known as "41 bis", inmates in high-security jails are allowed one family visit a month, one phone call of up to 10 minutes a month, and are forbidden contact with fellow convicts from their organisation. They can have up to two hours outdoor exercise a day.
Introduced a decade ago as a temporary measure after two magistrates were murdered, the law is intended to stop mobsters or terrorists controlling or influencing their groups from behind bars. The law is renewed annually but the government proposes extending it to the end of its term in 2006. Many are pushing for it to be made a permanent law.
The Justice Minister, Roberto Castelli, is being firm. "The government is going ahead ... We maintain that 41 bis is a very effective measure against organised crime, and also against terrorism," he said.
But the protest itself seems to prove the law's ineffectiveness. After it began in Marina Picena in central Italy – whose inmates include Salvatore "Toto" Riina, the reputed "boss of bosses" – it spread rapidly across the country, in spite of inmates supposedly having no way to contact one another. Mobsters of different ranks in eight jails have now joined in.
- 1 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 2 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
- 3 Gay teenager 'forced to have sex with his own mother' to 'cure' his homosexuality, campaigners in India say
- 4 Fifa corruption: Qatar says investigations are racist, anti-Arab and show 'ugly face' of countries who lost 2022 World Cup bid
- 5 We have six months to save the world, says leading economist
California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
Sepp Blatter resigns: FBI are investigating outgoing Fifa president, claims report
Alton Towers crash: Four guests seriously injured as Smiler ride carriages collide
Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
Gay teenager 'forced to have sex with his own mother' to 'cure' his homosexuality, campaigners in India say
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Ideal candidates for the role m...
£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 6-month part-time contract (24 hours a...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...