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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 May 2006, 20:41 GMT 21:41 UK
'Mafia boss' in court appearance
Bernardo Provenzano
Bernardo Provenzano's capture spawned new investigations
The alleged head of the Sicilian mafia, Bernardo Provenzano, has made his first court appearance since his arrest last month after 40 years on the run.

Mr Provenzano, 73, appeared via a video-link from his jail in a trial concerning Mafia murders committed in Italy in the 1980s.

He is being held in isolation at a high security jail in Terni, central Italy.

He was arrested last month at a small farmhouse near his home town of Corleone in Sicily.

Police had followed fresh laundry sent by his wife to the farmhouse.

Convicted

Mr Provenzano was shown on screen in the court alongside the man accused of being his predecessor as Mafia boss, Toto "The Beast" Riina.

Before the session was adjourned, Mr Provenzano was shown via the video telling his lawyer that he was being treated well in the Terni prison.

The prison is denying him access to television, radio or newspapers.

As part of the tough prison regime reserved for Mafia convicts, he is under constant video surveillance and is only allowed contact with his lawyer.

Before his capture he had already been convicted in absentia of more than a dozen murders, and 10 more arrest warrants are being re-examined.

Dozens of letters and documents discovered in the farmhouse where he was hiding are being deciphered.

Police say important sections of the documents are in code or use a series of numbers to disguise names.


SEE ALSO:
Profile: Bernardo Provenzano
11 Apr 06 |  Europe


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