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Italian author welcomes mafia conviction as "first step towards freedom"


Italian author welcomes mafia conviction as "first step towards freedom"

It is being described as a small victory against the mafia by the author of a book on one of Italy’s major organised crime gangs.

An alleged mafia lawyer, Michele Santonastaso, has been convicted of making threats against the writer Roberto Saviano who investigated the Camorra mafia.

The lawyer has been given a one-year suspended sentence and ordered to pay damages to Saviano and another journalist.

Saviano spoke to reporters outside the court in Naples.

“All the attention around this case is the result of 10 years of fighting,” he said. “For me these sentences represent a first step towards freedom and a normal life.”

Two mafia bosses, Francesco Bidognetti and Antonio Iovine, who were also charged with making threats, were acquitted.

But Saviano says the case still shows the gangs are not what he calls “invincible”.

His book was turned into an award-winning film, but it meant he became an enemy of the crime gangs, who vowed to punish him.

He is now living under constant protection, with personal bodyguards provided by the state.

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