The trial of 76 alleged Mafia members--including some of Sicily's most feared men opened in the Sicilian capital, Palermo, on Thursday (21 March).
GV PAN EXT. Courthouse
LV INT. Judges seated
LV Some of accused in dock
LV Some of accused seated
SV People sitting
LV Women in dock with police behind
SV Gerlando Alberti escorted by police to chair in front of judges
CU Court official writing
CU Man taking notes
SV accused standing and women seated in courtroom
GV Gerlando Alberti in front of judges
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Background: The trial of 76 alleged Mafia members--including some of Sicily's most feared men opened in the Sicilian capital, Palermo, on Thursday (21 March).
Of the accused, 28 are in custody and 38 have been confined to villages or islands. The remaining ten--including Luciano Ligio, a convicted murderer--are on the run, and are being tried in absentia.
The charges range from drug smuggling and corruption of the Palermo building industry, to conspiracy to commit crime and the possession of firearms.
The hearings--which began on 11 February--are regarded as crucial in the international efforts to break the power of the Mafia. The prosecution has been seeking convictions on smaller, more definable charges, rather than on bigger charges--including himicide--which are harder to prove.
One of the accused, Gerlando Alberti, alleged to be the head of the Mafia's "Homicide Anonymous" organisation, was acquitted eighteen months ago of gunning down and killing four people, in Palermo in 1969.
The mafia--a name now synonymous with organised crime--has its roots in the Italian and Sicilian countryside. Since the turn of the century it has spread to various countries, most notably, the United States of America.
The mass trial in Palermo is expected to go on for months, with evidence coming from all over the world.