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Catania. Candlemas under boss’s house, journalists sued

Investigated for defamation for an article about an unusual stop of the votive candle of the fruit and vegetables sellers during the feast of St. Agatha

Dario De Luca and Luisa Santangelo, two journalists of the Sicilian news outlet MeridioNews, risk a trial for libel. To spark lawsuit, brought forwards by the guild of the fruit and vegetables sellers, was an article published during the feast of St. Agatha, the patron saint of Catania, on February 4, 2015.

The two journalists were told that during the tour of the city, the “Candlemas”, the votive candle of the guild, “quit the cordon, moved from the authorized route and stopped a few hours in an alley of the Old Course, a very popular area”, De Luca tells Ossigeno. A stop, according to the journalists, that was rather strange: right in that alley lives Massimiliano Salvo, under house arrest on charges of having had leading roles in major criminal mafia conspiracies. The article states that the Candlemas, which stopped a few meters from the door, began to dance the traditional annacata, a typical movement during stops.

“We simply reported the matter and we connected it to other circumstances,” says De Luca. “In the same area, at the intersection of the two streets, there is a shrine of Sant’Agata where in 2009 a plaque had been placed – then removed in 2013 – with the names of nine members of the Cursoti clan, all dead mafia score settling. The Candlemas stopped right there, although it was not one of the authorized stop points”. Moreover, on the same day, the police seized 31 batteries of illegal fireworks, hidden in the grass near the Bastion of the Infected. “The fireworks, placed probably during the stop of the Candlemas near the votive shrine – the article recites – should perhaps have been exploded at the passage of the icon of Sant’Agata. But the party in this case failed.”

After the publication on MeridioNews, numerous sites and local and national televisions, prompting a furore, picked up the news. The article was also the inspiration for a subsequent investigation by the Police of Catania.

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