Thirteen years in prison for a former Italian mayor who welcomed migrants

(Rome) The former mayor of Riace in Calabria, Domenico Lucano – once an emblematic figure for the reception and integration of migrants in Italy – has been sentenced to more than 13 years in prison.

Posted on Sep 30, 2021 11:43 am

To the left, Domenico Lucano, who had been taking in migrants in his depopulated village in Calabria since the 2000s with the aim of revitalizing development and jobs, was arrested in autumn 2018 and placed under house arrest.

Comfortable weddings

The details of Thursday’s conviction, which the Locri court announced to the press, have not yet been released. But Mr Lucano was particularly accused of organizing marriages of convenience to help women who denied their right to asylum in Italy.

He has also been criticized for not entering into a tender to transfer garbage disposal in his 1,800-inhabitant village to cooperatives linked to migrants.

His lawyers announced that they would appeal this judgment in the first instance and emphasized that the former mayor had not gained any monetary benefit in this case.

For many years the municipality of Riace has been financed by European and Italian funds.

According to Italian media, Domenico Lucano was instructed to return 500,000 euros in European funding.

Prosecutors had called for almost 8 years in prison for the former city council, who said he was stunned by his much tougher sentence announced on Thursday. “I expected to be acquitted. I will forever be shaped by deeds that I have not committed, ”he responded.

Awarded the third best mayor in the world in 2010 and named one of the 100 most influential personalities by Fortune magazine in 2016, Mr. Lucano had inspired a documentary fiction by Wim Wenders and a television film.

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