Italy: a former mayor, figure of the reception of migrants, heavily condemned

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Domenico Lucano, a former mayor of Riace (Calabria) who had organized the reception of many migrants, was sentenced Thursday to more than 13 years in prison at first instance.

The sentence is much heavier than that required by the prosecutor. The former mayor of Riace, in the region of Calabria, in southern Italy, Domenico Lucano, was sentenced, Thursday, September 30, to a sentence of more than 13 years in prison at first instance.

Close to the left, Domenico Lucano, who had welcomed migrants to his depopulated village since the 2000s in order to boost development and jobs, was arrested in the fall of 2018 and placed under house arrest.

The details of Thursday’s conviction announced by the Locri court to the press have not yet been released. But Domenico Lucano was accused in particular of having organized marriages of convenience in order to help rejected women of the right of asylum to remain in Italy.

He was also criticized for having dispensed with a call for tenders to assign the management of garbage in his village of 1,800 inhabitants to cooperatives linked to migrants.

“I expected to be acquitted”

The commune of Riace had been financed for years by European and Italian funds. According to Italian media, Domenico Lucano was ordered to return 500,000 euros in European funding.

The prosecutor had asked for nearly eight years in prison for the former city councilor, who said he was stunned by his much harsher sentence announced Thursday. “I expected to be acquitted. I will be forever marked by acts that I did not commit”, he reacted.

His lawyers announced that they will appeal this judgment at first instance, stressing that the former mayor did not derive any pecuniary advantage in this case.

Distinguished in 2010 as the third “best mayor in the world”, cited among the 100 most influential personalities by Fortune magazine in 2016, Domenico Lucano had inspired a docufiction by Wim Wenders and a TV movie.

With AFP

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