ROME, September 26 (RAPSI) – Italian President Giorgio Napolitano will testify in a scandalous case regarding the alleged secret talks held by the Italian government with the Sicilian mafia over a series of deadly bombings in the early 1990s, according to a Palermo court statement released on Thursday.
RIA Novosti reported on Thursday, that the decision to summon the president was taken by the judges who are hearing the case at the request of the prosecution. The hearing will be held behind closed doors in the presidential residence, the Quirinal Palace, the court said, without giving a date.
In late October 2013, President Napolitano sent a statement to the Palermo court saying that he had “no knowledge that could be useful to the court.”
“I would be happy to testify if I really had something to report,” the president added.
The trial began on May 27, 2013. The main defendants in the trial are mafia bosses Toto Riina and Bernardo Provenzano, former Senator Marcello Dell'Utri, former Interior Minister and president of Italy’s Chamber of Deputies Nicola Mancino, as well as three former senior paramilitary Carabiniere officers.
Most of them have been charged with threatening the operation of the government. Mancino is accused of perjury. All of them have denied any wrongdoing.
The Palermo prosecutor’s office launched an investigation into the alleged agreements between the government and the mafia in 2008. In the early 1990s, Mancino allegedly negotiated with the mafia to stop a string of bomb attacks in Sicily that to that point had killed 21 people, including the anti-mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.
Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian mafia, is said to have offered to stop the attacks in return for lighter jail terms and conditions for convicted gang members.