Italy: Falcone's killer to be released from prison

Giovanni Brusca, boss of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, has been released under a witness protection programme after 25 years in prison. Following his arrest in 1996 he confessed to detonating the 500-kilogramme bomb that killed the judge Giovanni Falcone, his wife and three bodyguards near Palermo. Brusca's testimony led to the convictions of other Cosa Nostra bosses.

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Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

The price of fighting the mafia

Italy has no choice but to offer key witnesses enormous early release credits, writes the Tages-Anzeiger:

“Whether Brusca really repented of his many deeds, as the law stipulates for so-called 'pentiti', or repentant prisoners, is of secondary importance. ... Because as things turned out he has been a reliable and very useful source. Thanks to his insider information, the state was able to make many arrests and weaken the Cosa Nostra, which would probably not have been possible otherwise. What's more, this probably also prevented much additional suffering. The scandalously early release of people like Brusca is the price Italy is paying for being powerless against the underworld without key witnesses.”

Il Fatto Quotidiano (IT) /

Falcone himself backed this legislation

The widespread indignation over the release, in particular from the right-wing camp, is misplaced, argues Il Fatto Quotidiano:

“If Brusca was released from prison it was thanks to legislation inspired, conceived and much desired by his most famous victim: Giovanni Falcone. ... For this legislation, Falcone drew inspiration from the witness protection law in force in the United States. ... Why would a mafioso cooperate with the justice system without a reduction of his sentence, the possibility of a bonus and above all a guarantee of protection for himself and his relatives?”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

The laws are homemade

It is hypocritical of those politicians who were responsible for the legislation to now get up in arms about Brusca's release, Jutarnji list points out:

“Lega leader Matteo Salvini said Brusca's release was a 'mess'. In his words, Brusca was 'a monster who should not have been released from his dungeon'. Former prime minister Enrico Letta called it a 'punch in the stomach'. Antonio Tajani, national coordinator of Berlusconi's party, said 'such law is not just'. But the only ones who have no moral right to be indignant and criticise the judges are current or former members of parliament. After all, the judges' decision is based on laws that they passed and that they could have changed.”