Unrepentant mobster interviewed on state TV sparks outrage in Italy

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 3:57 PM

Giuseppe Salvatore Riina has written a book called "Riina Family Life" about growing up as the son of Italy'south most wanted man, Salvatore "Toto" Riina, and appeared late on Wednesday on RAI'south premier talkshow to promote his memoirs.

A convicted mobster whose father was the bloodiest of all Sicilian mafia bosses has sparked outrage in Italy by giving an interview to RAI state television in which he described his childhood as "nice" and refused to condemn the mob.

Giuseppe Salvatore Riina has written a book called "Riina Family Life" about growing up as the son of Italy'south most wanted man, Salvatore "Toto" Riina, and appeared late on Wednesday on RAI'south premier talkshow to promote his memoirs.

Not once during the interview did Riina, one of four children, criticize his father, and he refused to acknowledge the existence of the mafia, saying cryptically when asked to determine it: "It could be everything or it could be nothing".

Italian politicians denounced RAI for allowing the interview to be aired and RAI'south top managers have been summoned to show up before parliament'south anti-mafia committee on Thursday.

Riina'south 85-year-old father, nicknamed "the Beast", was arrested in one thousand nine hundred ninety-third and is serving multiple life sentences for murder, including for ordering the one thousand nine hundred ninety-two assassinations of anti-mafia magistrates Giovanni Falconi and Paolo Borsellino.

Investigators estimate that more than 1.000 people were killed in a mafia war in the early one thousand nine hundred eighty in which the elder Riina emerged as the supreme boss of Cosa Nostra.

His son was also subsequently convicted of mafia membership and sentenced to nearly nine years in prison. He's currently on parole.

During the half-hour pre-recorded interview, Riina said he'd been residence schooled and that he lied about his identity as a baby to defend his father, who lived below an assumed title and told neighbors he worked as a surveyor.

Wearing a gray jacket and a white shirt, Riina didn't flinch when shown scenes of the aftermath of the bombs that killed Falcone and Borsellino. He said his childhood had been a pleased one, and the different circumstances had united his family.

"We shared a secret to hold the family together," he said. "We were different children and our lives were totally different from others, but it was also very nice."

Pietro Grasso, president of the Senate and Italy'south former chief anti-mafia prosecutor, denounced the interview. "I don't care if Riina'south hands caressed his children. They're the same hands covered in the blood of innocents," he wrote on Facebook.

Veteran talk-show host Bruno Vespa defended his decision to air the interview, saying "it'south the first time we look how an necessary mafia family works".

Ferdinando Dome was aged ten in one thousand nine hundred sixty-ninth when his father Giovanni, an innocent bystander, was gunned down in Palermo in a mafia shootout in which five people were killed. Riina was convicted of ordering the hit, known as the "Lazio Str Massacre", and given a life sentence.

"He said he'd a grand life with his father. My childhood wasn't so happy," Dome, the eldest of Giovanni'south five sons, told Reuters.

"It bothers me very much that by broadcasting this interview on state television they're helping him sell his book."

(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Crispian Balmer and Catherine Evans)

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