Italy begins the largest Mafia trial in 30 years

Hundreds of members of the Ndrangheta, Italy’s most powerful mafia group, will go on trial in Calabria this week in the largest trial in three decades.

This is reported by The Local.

The trial of the crime syndicate and its associates — who include politicians, government officials, police, and white-collar workers — is expected to last more than two years.

With 355 defendants, more than 900 witnesses, and 400 lawyers, the trial will also feature an unprecedented 58 government witnesses willing to break the code of silence and reveal the clan’s secrets.

The trial is being held in a specially equipped room in the heart of Ndrangheta territory in Calabria, a poor region of Italy. It targets only one group, the Mancuso family and its affiliates.

During a recent preliminary hearing, it took three hours just to read the names of the accused, including boss Luigi Mancuso, who has spent nearly 20 years in prison.

In court, the prosecution is represented by a well-known Italian anti-mafia prosecutor, Nicola Gratter, who has lived under police protection for more than 30 years.

The scope of the trial is eclipsed only by the first Italian “maxi-trial” of 1986-1987 in Palermo against the Sicilian Cosa Nostra and its network of connected families. At that time 338 people were convicted. Later, the local mafia murdered prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.

The future case is also partly different in that it targets one of Ndrangheta’s orders of hundreds of families. But it is important not only because of its scale but also because it involves so many lawyers, politicians, civil servants, and businessmen who help make the Ndrangheta work.

Charges include participation in mafia groups, murder and attempted murder, drug trafficking, extortion, usury, disclosure of official secrets, abuse of office, possession of stolen goods, and money laundering.

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