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Sunday, February 14, 1999 Published at 00:46 GMT

World: Europe

Mafia bosses jailed for bomb attack

Behind bars: Riina and six others were sentenced to life

Seven leading members of the Italian Mafia have been sentenced to life imprisonment for their part in the murder of a prosecutor who was investigating Mafia activities.

Those convicted included the former godfather of the Sicilian Mafia, Salvatore Riina, known as "The Beast", who is already serving several life sentences for other crimes. He was arrested in 1993 after spending nearly a quarter of a century on the run.

Riina and his co-defendants had been tried for the murder of anti-Mafia judge Paolo Borsellino, and his five bodyguards. They were killed when the judge's car was blown up in the Sicilian capital Palermo in 1992.

[ image: The Mafia's reputed No.2: Aglieri had stood trial before]
The Mafia's reputed No.2: Aglieri had stood trial before
The other defendants were named as Pietro Aglieri - another reputed top Mafia leader, Salvatore Biondino, Carlo Greco, Giuseppe Graviano, Gaetano Scotto and Francesco Tagliavia - all members of Riina's clan.

Seven other Mafia members received 10-year sentences, while another was jailed for eight and a half years. A further two were given eight years in prison for links with the Mafia.

Only one of the 18 suspects tried at the court in Caltanissetta was acquitted.

Three trials

Saturday's convictions brought to an end the third trial relating to the prosecutor's murder.

The first trial opened in 1994 and ended in January 1996, when a court sentenced three members of the Mafia to life and handed down an 18-year sentence to Vincenzo Scarantino, a mafia turncoat who became the leading prosecution witness.

The second trial of 18 defendants, which included Riina and Aglieri, opened in the same year and led to several convictions and two acquittals.

The Borsellino car bombing came less than two months after Italy's top anti-Mafia prosecutor, Giovanni Falcone, his wife Francesca and three bodyguards were killed in their car when a bomb blew up on a motorway outside Palermo.

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