Toto Riina, the Supreme Court and the rule of law “disposable”

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But really the Italian state, as a result of a decision by its Supreme Court, opened up for release for one of the most powerful and fierce mafia bosses ever existed, capable of ordering hundreds of murders and massacres of monstrous crimes such as the dissolution of a baby of acid so deserving, among many, the nickname of Belva?

Perhaps the facts are not so and their distorted interpretation is the last case of fake Italian news.

By judgment no. 27766/17 the First Criminal Section of the Court of Cassation annulled the order of the Court of Surveillance of Bologna, thereby accepting the appeal of the defendants of Totò Riina, who requested the suspension of the sentence or house arrest for reasons of health. The “Capo dei capi”, arrested in 1993 after 24 years of imprisonment and hanging on 17 life sentences, has long been severely ill. One year ago, in May 2016, the Court of Auditors of Bologna had rejected the boss’s lawsuit because the health conditions were not serious enough to allow for a deferment of the prison sentence, also in view of the dangers of the detainee in question.

The Toto u’Curtu lawyers have appealed to the Supreme Court and the courts have upheld their argument for a “lack of motivation”, arguing that the arguments of the Bologna judges were ‘deficient’ and ‘contradictory’ and that they therefore have to decide again. Therefore, the “Palazzaccio” of Piazza Cavour did not decide on any dismissal hypothesis of Riina.

On its merits, the Court reiterated that, considering the age of the boss (almost 87 years old) and its healthcare framework, detention in prison could manifest itself as inhumane detention contrary to the principles set forth by the European Convention on Human Rights. In addition, the Bologna court first emphasized the compatibility of Riina’s detention with her health condition and then “expressly highlighted the shortcomings of the Prison Chamber of Parma”. Hence the contradictory nature of the sentence. In addition, the Court states that ‘while maintaining the very high risk of the detained Salvatore Riina and its undisputed criminal integrity, the measure does not clarify, with adequate justification, how such a danger can and should be considered in the light of the precariousness of the health conditions ». So, is the line of the Supreme Court, even the boss is established “the existence of a right to die with dignity”.

The verdict triggered a dusty view of the criminal character of the character and the symbol it embodies, that of the state mafia fight. More parts have pointed out that Totò Riina is still formally the head of Cosa Nostra, although he no longer has direct control over the Corleon mafia, also because of the harsh repression action brought by the judiciary and law enforcement. And the message that comes out of it (boss number 1 released, though for health reasons) could trigger deflagrating effects, equal to those of the many bombs placed by the mafia criminal.

But here is not the case of dismissing Riina, here are the very foundations of the rule of law, which mark a clear borderline with the criminal organizations. Many of those who, today, grumble, fall in love, ask for public strength for the boss, forget, for example, that Constitution that they have so much defended from actual or alleged attacks. Article 27, third and fourth paragraphs, provides that “punishments may not consist of treatments contrary to the sense of humanity and must seek re-education of the convicted person. Death penalty is not allowed”.

Otherwise, what need do we have of legislative and judicial power, what need do we have of the democracy that we say so much to defend? It would be enough to restore the law of the limb, right?

And again, Article 101: “Justice is administered in the name of the people.” Not of populism, not of the brave and voracious belly that confuses rights and duties, which puts everything in the same cauldron, even the sacrosanct will of the relatives of the victims to be done and maintained righteousness.

And it is the State, the holder of this principle, the State must ensure the inmate Riina, as any other detainee, a life and a dignified death. And if a place that is a patrimony of the State becomes incompatible with this principle of humanity, it means that we are not a country in which the law and the rule of law are fully respected. It is not new to the numerous judgments of the European Court of Human Rights on the pitiful state of overcrowding of Italian prisons.

By virtue of that right, by virtue of those norms that we often termed as “the most beautiful in the world”, the detained Salvatore Riina is entitled to a dignified death.

Giovanni Falcone or Paolo Borsellino or Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa or Ninni Cassarà would have claimed it as well, which made rules and legality the guiding principle of counter-action to Cosa Nostra.

If that were not the case, then it would be the State to turn into Belva.

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