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Modica (Ragusa province). The journalist Paolo Borrometi under police protection

They already set fire to the door of his house on August 25. The AGI correspondent had already been the victim of attacks and intimidation

From August 28, the journalist Mr Paolo Borrometi, from Modica (in the province of Ragusa), lives under police protection and moves around with their car service. Borrometi is a correspondent for the AGI news agency and is chief editor of the local online newsoultetLa Spia. The “tutelage” (as this form of police protection is called) has been assigned to the reporter by the Provincial Committee for order and public safety of Ragusa, which met after the last act of intimidation: in the night between 24 and 25 August, unknown assailants set fire to the house door of Borrometi, who lives with his family in the centre of Modica, on the seventh floor of an apartment building.

PRECEDENTS – The fire did not cause serious damage because the door was reinforced and flame retardant. The incident has aroused great alarm because Borrometi had already suffered from harassment episodes. In October 2013 the inscription “Be careful” was carved on the side of his car. On April 16 the reporter was beaten up in his country house by two men who had their faces covered, twisting his arm and causing fractures to the shoulder. In early August, he found a writing on the wall in front of his house door: “Borrometi you’re dead.”

SOLIDARITY – After the arson attack and the allocation of protection, the section Ragusa of the Press Association of Sicily has expressed solidarity to Borrometi, calling what happened “a new act of intimidation, after the cowardly attack of last April by two hooded men, which feeds the concern of the workers in the sector for a journalist engaged daily in reporting activities”. The Director of AGI, Roberto Iadicicco, on August 28 went to Ragusa, where he met the journalist and institutional representatives, and stated that “the protection given to Borrometi not only protects this reporter, but the same freedom of information, which is a primary good of a civil society.”

Solidarity also came from the editorial staff of La Spia, by other local Sicilian newspapers and some politicians, including BeppeLumia (Senator of the Democratic Party and member of the Parliamentary Anti-Mafia Committee), Salvatore Calleri (Councillor of the Region of Sicily and president of the Caponnetto Foundation), Mario Giarrusso (Senator of the 5 Star Movement), Luigi Ammatuna (Mayor of Pozzallo), Vincenzo Bramanti (Chairman of the municipal Council of Scicli), and the from the Provincial Coordination of Ragusa of the SEL party.

Borrometi received police protection a little over a month after Michele Albanese got it in Calabria, the reporter who first wrote on a newspaper about the reverential “bow” that the statue of the Virgin took in front of the home of a mobster during the solemn religious procession in the town of OppidoMamertina.

BORROMETI’S REPORTS – Investigations are ongoing on the intimidation cases and it is possible that they originated from mafia circles. A few days before the April attack, the reporter – referring to investigations on a murder that as yet remains unsolved – wrote that “the Mafia code of silence is the most serious form of Mafia”, inviting those who know something to break the silence. In recent weeks, the online newspaper directed by Borrometi has published a number of surveys delving into mafia activities in some municipalities in the province of Ragusa, such as Vittoria and Scicli (whose mayor, Francesco Susino, is being investigated for collusion with the Mafia). Borrometi has also written articles on illegal horse races and has published maps of the Mafia in Sicily with a breakdown province by province of the mafia control.

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