Professional-refugee Italian mayor sentenced to 13 years for abetting unlawful migration | Italy

The previous mayor of an Italian city who revitalised his neighborhood by welcoming and integrating migrants has been sentenced to greater than 13 years in jail for abetting unlawful migration and for “irregularities” in managing the asylum seekers.

Domenico Lucano, 63, identified domestically as Mimmo, the previous mayor of Riace, a tiny hilltop city within the southern Calabria area, was put below home arrest in 2018 for allegedly abetting unlawful immigration, embezzlement, and fraud.

In keeping with the magistrates, Lucano had flouted the general public tender course of by awarding waste assortment contracts to 2 cooperatives that have been set as much as assist migrants search for work.

His arrest got here every week after Italy’s former far-right inside minister, Matteo Salvini, introduced a sequence of anti-immigration measures, which included slashing funds for migrant reception and integration. It additionally adopted the suspension by the general public broadcaster, Rai, of a TV present about Riace in the course of the investigation.

Throughout his mandate, Lucano, a former schoolteacher, made Riace well-known for its much-lauded mannequin of integration as a method of reversing depopulation. He was hailed in 2016 by Fortune journal as one of many world’s 50 biggest leaders, having settled greater than 500 refugees in Riace, a city of 1,800 inhabitants, and stopping the closure of the native college.

On Thursday, the previous mayor was sentenced to 13 years and two months in jail.

The ruling got here as a shock in Italy. It was virtually double the seven years and 11 months requested by prosecutors.

Lucano was additionally charged for organising “marriages of comfort” after he helped prepare a marriage between a Nigerian girl and Italian man in order that the lady, who had been compelled into intercourse work in Naples, may stay and work in Italy legally. The cost was beforehand struck down by the supreme courtroom of cassation, Italy’s highest courtroom of attraction.

Protesters voicing their help for Domenico Lucano in 2018. {Photograph}: Matteo Bazzi/EPA

“I’ve no phrases, I didn’t count on it,’’ Lucano informed reporters after the sentence. “I spent my life chasing beliefs, I fought in opposition to the mafia; I sided with the final ones, the refugees. And I don’t even have the cash to pay the attorneys … at this time all of it ends for me. There isn’t a justice.”

Information of the sentence was hailed by Salvini – a fierce opponent of Lucano’s pro-migrant coverage – who’s standing for the regional council. With Lucano additionally a candidate in a regional election, Salvini wrote: “The left is working candidates sentenced to 13 years in jail.”

Lucano mentioned he would attraction his sentence. He’ll stay below home arrest, as in Italy sentences develop into definitive solely after two appeals, the second to the supreme courtroom.

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