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Sicily. Journalist complains of silence, is assaulted in Modica

Mr Paolo Borrometi was attacked in his country home. “Silence is mafia”, he said a few days before on the RAI 2 TV programme I Fatti Vostri, commenting on a murder

The journalist Mr Paolo Borrometi, collaborator with the press agency AGI and editor of the online newspaper La Spia, was beaten on April 16th. Two men who had their faces covered with balaclavas, entered his home in the countryside near Modica, in the Ragusa province. After assaulting him from behind and twisting his arms, they kicked him and shouted at him in dialect to mind his own business. Two days before he had participated to a TV programme on the RAI along with the mother of a man killed in Vittoria who is urging investigators to uncover the perpetrators. On that occasion he denounced the climate of silence, repeating what he had already written a few days before in an article. The aggression against Borrometi is the 15th case of threat against a journalists registered in Sicily by Ossigeno since the beginning of 2014.

THE AGGRESSION – In the afternoon of April 16th, Borrometi was in his country home, in the Ricciola district. “Like every day, I was there to feed my dog​. I was coming back home – the journalist told Ossigeno – when two men wearing balaclavas sprung up behind me. One of them gagged me with one hand and grabbed my arm with the other, pulling it forcefully and twisting it. The other gave me a kick in the back. I fell to the ground and slammed my face. Then I received yet more kicks”. At that point, the dog began to bark and the two men fled.

Shortly after, policemen and rescuers arrived on the spot. It is likely that Mr Borrometi suffered a fracture to the cuff of the shoulder. “I have bruises on the face and on the body, and I feel terrible pain where I received the kicks”, the journalist says.

INVESTIGATIONS ON A MURDER AND THE WORDS AGAINST SILENCE – To Borrometi the reasons for the aggression seem clear. A few days earlier, he recorded the appeal of the mother of Ivano Inglese, an innocent killed more than a year and a half ago in the countryside around Vittoria in a district known to be a location for the murders by the Carbonaro-Dominante clan. The journalist, commenting on the fact that the investigations still had not yet solved the case, publicly sided against the climate of silence, which, in an article of April 11th, he defined as “the most serious form of the mafia.”

From that moment on, the reporter began receiving threatening phone calls. They told him, in dialect, the same words they then repeated during the attack: “mind your own business”.  But Borrometi was not scared off.

On Monday, April 14th he participated to the TV programme on the RAI 2 channel I Fatti Vostri, along with Inglese’s mother. “The be silent is in itself being with the mafia. Someone must have seen something, and it’s time for him to talk”, he said during the broadcast (see the video, starting at the minute 1:43:00) . Two days later he was attacked.

As Borrometi explains, “It is the duty of the journalist to try and keep the attention on. All the local newspapers did speak about the appeal by Inglese’s mother, but on my website I have given it clear visibility. I’m not afraid and I won’t be gagged. Indeed I will keep following the crime with even more zeal.”

In October, Mr Borrometi had already been the victim of an incident of intimidation, which he however considers not to be linked to the aggression on Wednesday.

SOLIDARITY – the mayors of Vittoria and Modica expressed closeness to the reporter. The Assostampa of Ragusa in a statement described the aggression as “grave and vile”. The President of the regional UNCI Mr Leone Zingales, has denounced in a statement “the alarming situation of chroniclers in the provinces”. To Borrometi also goes Ossigeno’s solidarity.

As Borrometi finally adds, “a journalist should be free to speak. I believe that when one is attacked, the entire community is attacked. For this reason, it seems to me that the silence about what happened to me from the national political representatives of Ragusa is deafening. Among them, only Ms Marialucia Lorefice, deputy of the 5 stars Movement, has expressed solidarity.”


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