Riace model, letter from Lucano to the appeal judges: “I may have made mistakes but to help the weak”


By John

«Like all human beings I may have made mistakes but I have always acted with the aim and desire to help the weakest and to contribute to the reception and integration of children, women and men who were fleeing from hunger, war , from torture.” The former mayor of Riace wrote it Mimmo Lucano in a letter delivered by his lawyers to the judges of the Court of Appeal of Reggio Calabria who are judging him.

«Dear Judges – writes Lucano – five years have passed since I was arrested on the infamous accusation of carrying out my activity of welcoming and integrating migrants for the purposes of a political career and profit. Two years have passed since the first degree sentence was imposed on me an enormous prison sentence such as is not often given to the worst criminals. A year has passed since the Attorney General once again requested my heavy sentence which describes the undersigned as responsible for serious crimes and even as having been the head of a criminal association. Well, in confirming full trust in the defense lawyers who are dealing with my fate, sharing their defense arguments, I feel the need to declare only one thing to you, respectfully, before you meet in chambers.”

«I have lived years of great bitterness and mistrust in justice, – we read in the former mayor’s letter – not only and not so much due to the limitation of personal freedom, but due to theunjust campaign of denigration which has hit the experience of repopulation of the old village of Riace open to the reception of migrants. As soon as it was possible, during these years of procedural proceedings, I continued to dedicate myself full time, as a private citizen, to the reopening and management of the Global Village of Riace which hosted and continues to host children and people with fragility. Therefore, what I consider my life’s mission has not been interrupted, regardless of public positions and state funding. Nothing but criminal association. At the end of this process I invite you to visit the Global Village of Riace, you will be welcome».

The defense: non-therapeutic fury against Lucano

“There was non-therapeutic fury towards Mimmo Lucano.” The lawyer said it Giuliano Pisapia, one of the two defenders of the former mayor of Riace, in his speech at the Court of Appeal of Reggio Calabria where the «Xenia» trial is being held on the management of migrant reception projects in the small town of Locride. Lucano was sentenced at first instance by the Court of Locri to 13 years and 2 months. Last October, the Prosecutor General’s Office requested confirmation of the conviction but reducing the sentence to 10 years and 5 months. The lawyers Andrea Daqua and Giuliano Pisapia spoke out against that sentence this morning. For the latter, former mayor of Milan, “there are all the conditions for the acquittal of Mimmo Lucano who throughout his life has always done what was useful to others and not what was useful to himself”.

Pisapia recalled that the former mayor of Riace has always rejected the candidacy both in national elections and in the European Parliament: «How can you say that he did what he did for political reasons? This element should already close the process: there is no intent and there is no awareness and desire for an economic advantage. It appears from reading all the procedural documents that Lucano did not have a penny in his bank account. I’m not talking about a saint. I’m interested in who is accused today and currently has a sentence with an exorbitant sentence.” Addressing the judges, the former mayor of Milan recalled that «Falcone, among many things, said to follow the money. Please follow Lucano’s money and you won’t find it. Your sentence will be important because especially in this period in which the situation of migrants is particularly difficult and complicated, having many Riaces would help solve many problems and avoid situations that a country like ours should not see from afar but be able to face. When politics enters the courtroom – concludes Pisapia – justice runs out of the window in horror. For me it is something insurmountable: justice is one thing and politics is another. They must each have their own roles and must not step into other people’s roles.”

The former mayor’s other lawyer, the lawyer Andrea Daqua, entered into the merits of the accusations, denouncing a «distorted use of wiretaps” by the Court of Locri which condemned Lucano and reconstructing the various inspections ordered by the prefecture. According to the defender, the trial arose from «a one-way investigation because it silenced any element that was in conflict with the accusatory system as it had been pre-packaged by those inspections. We have a legitimate suspicion that the trial against Mimmo Lucano was flawed from the beginning. The Court of Locri indulges in disparaging language towards Lucano, commits the very serious mistake of losing its third party status, it conforms in an almost servile manner to this pre-packaged accusatory construct, ends up denying itself, ignores the substantial documentation that we have produced and the detailed consultancy of the parties. It is an unjust and incorrect sentence on all counts. You have the opportunity to correct a macroscopic error.” The trial was postponed to October 11. On that occasion the judges, after their replies, should enter the council chamber for the sentence.