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Sicily. Arsonist attack against the car of a reporter, is thought to be a warning of the Mafia

It was burned the private car of journalist Leonardo Orlando, correspondent for “La Gazzetta del Sud”, the most widely read newspaper in the area. The car, a Ford Focus, was parked on the street, near home of the journalist. The fire was lit during the night. This is an arson, have set the firefighters.

It ‘happened March 26, 2013 in Sicily, in Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto, a city of 45,000 inhabitants, 40 km from Messina. The fire was immediately classified as an act of intimidation made to limit the activity of the reporter. As it always happens in these cases, it is difficult to determine whether to move the bombers has been a particular article. The hypothesis that the investigators are testing is that it is a warning of the Mafia to limit the professional activities of the journalist. Leonardo Orlando, 51, is an experienced reporter, well respected for its expertise. In the last fifteen years, Orlando has written articles for the Journal of Messina on investigations by the prosecution on the powerful mafia of this part of Sicily.

“I often write sensitive news before anyone else and often I am the only journalist thar reports certain facts delicate. I know well that this exposes me to the risk of retaliation, but this is my job. Lately, I felt a growing tension,” said Leonardo Orlando after the attempt on his car.

Just in Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto was murdered by the Mafia in 1993 one of eight journalists killed in Sicily, the journalist Beppe Alfano, who had reported a dramatic episode of corruption and had almost discovered near his home the secret hideout of the fugitive mafia’s boss Nitto Santapaola, an ally of the powerful Corleonesi of Toto Riina. Santapaola was involved in the assassination of the Carabinieri General Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa (killed in Palermo in 1982) and in the assassination of journalist Giuseppe Fava, who was killed in Catania in 1984. For this latest murder Santapaola was convicted as an instigator.
Since some for months in Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto is expected the beginning of a new mafia war. The mafia groups are weakened by the investigation of the anti-Mafia prosecutors of Messina and by the revelations of some who are collaborating with justice. There have been numerous settling at gunpoint in the streets and in coffe shops.
After the attempt on his car, Leonardo Orlando has received public statements of solidarity by the Association of Journalists and by the watchdog Ossigeno per l’Informazione. The Association of Journalists of Sicily pointed out that Leonardo Orlando “for many years is writing news about mafia from Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto, and that he won an award in memory of Mario Francese (another of the eight journalists killed in Sicily, ed)

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