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ITALY: Mafia boss jailed for life over 1992 killing of judges

AN Italian appeal court on Wednesday jailed a former crime boss for his role in the 1992 assassination of the anti-mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, media reported.

The court in Caltanissetta, Sicily, rejected the appeal lodged by the former head of the Cosa Nostra, Matteo Messina Denaro, and upheld the life sentence handed down against him in October 2020.

Denaro, who had been on the run, was only arrested in early 2023.

His lawyer Adriana Vella had argued for his acquittal, saying he had played no part in the murder of the two judges.

In May 1992, Falcone, his wife and three bodyguards were killed when a massive explosion on the motorway between Palermo and its airport, destroyed their car.

Two months later Borsellino, a close associate of Falcone who had adopted the same successful tactics against the mafia, was killed in another bombing along with five members of his escort.

The two assassinations created a political shockwave that led to a state crackdown on organised crime, with police and soldiers sent to Sicily to track down those responsible.

A number of senior mafia bosses were subsequently convicted of the killings.

Denaro who headed up a major organised financial network, was arrested in January in Sicily after 30 years on the run. He had used a false name to attend a medical appointment for treatment for cancer of the colon.

He had already been convicted and sentenced to multiple life sentences for murders he either ordered or carried out personally.

His conviction follows those of past leaders of the Cosa Nostra, Toto Riina and Bernardo Provenzano.

They both died in jail while serving their sentences, in 2017 and 2016 respectively.

Denaro is being held in a maximum-security prison in Aquila, in the central Abruzzo region, east of Rome.

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