Outrage As Mafia Killer Released From Prison Over COVID

Story ByAna LacasaSub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyNewsflash

A Sicilian Mafia killer sentenced to life for murdering and dissolving a rival’s teenage son in acid has been released from prison to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in Italian jails and the move has sparked outrage.

Cosa Nostra mobster Cataldo Franco, 85, was released on 28th April from a maximum security prison on the outskirts of Milan and has been allowed to return to his hometown of Geraci Siculo in Sicily, according to local media.

Reports said that his release was part of government measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among its prison population and that several notorious mafia figures have been allowed to go home or continue their sentences under house arrest or with tagging devices.


Franco took part in the kidnapping of Giuseppe Di Matteo after his former mafia father Santino Di Matteo became an informant, according to reports. He was kidnapped on 23rd November 1993 when he was just 12 years old (he was born on 19th January 1981).

Four mafiosi, dressed as cops and working for crime boss Salvatore Riina and the brothers Giovanni and Enzo Brusca, kidnapped the boy and kept him in a property owned by Franco until Summer or October 1994.

On 12th January 1996, the teenager was reportedly strangled by the Sicilian Mafia (Cosa nostra) members and his body was dissolved in acid.


Local media said that Franco was one of 370 inmates released by the Italian authorities as part of the COVID-19 containment measure which led to widespread criticism of justice minister Alfonso Bonafede.

Opposition leader Matteo Salvini called Franco’s release “an insult” to the memory of the young victim and “all victims of mafia activity as well as their families”.

Prosecutors and investigators were also reportedly concerned about the measure as they wanted to see the convicts kept in high-security medical clinics instead.


Bonafede said on Wednesday that the inmates will return to their cells “after the health emergency” and that judges will be allowed to review the conditions of the prisoners’ release.

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