Mafia gang jailed for 300 years

A judge in Palermo has jailed 57 Mafia members to 300 years in prison, the Ansa news agency reported yesterday.

A judge in Palermo has jailed 57 Mafia members to 300 years in prison, the Ansa news agency reported yesterday.

They were all said to be close to supremo Bernardo Provenzano.

Most were convicted of protecting Provenzano's whereabouts over the 10 years preceding his abrupt arrest in April, while others were implicated in managing Mafia funds.

Several of Provenzano's lieutenants were found guilty of organising his visit to a hospital in southern France for prostate surgery in 2003, under the assumed identity of a baker.

Nicola Mandala, accused of planning the trip, was sentenced to 13 years and four months in prison. The longest sentence, 18 years, was handed down to Benedetto Spera, a Mafia boss who controlled the Belmonte Mezzagno region.

The sentencing by Judge Adriana Piras follows a sweep last year that led to the arrests of dozens of suspects considered close to Provenzano.

Provenzano, 73, was captured at an isolated farm near Corleone, the village near Palermo where he was born. He had been on the run for nearly 43 years.

Provenzano is standing trial in Palermo for a series of murders committed in the 1980s during gangland warfare within the Cosa Nostra. - Sapa

X