Cataldo took part in the kidnapping and eventual murder of 10-year-old Giuseppe di Matteo in 1996. Giuseppe, the son of a mafia turncoat, was tortured for 2 years and eventually strangled and his body dissolved in acid.
Giuseppe’s mother was not happy about the release, she said “It’s not acceptable. Whoever was part of that terrible kidnapping needs to stay in jail for life. He (Cataldo) can’t be granted mercy, even if he risks catching coronavirus.”
In March, prisoners rioted over a fear of catching the coronavirus which has killed tens of thousands of people in Italy. As a result, the government allowed some prisoners over 70 years old to be placed under house arrest.
Amongst the released prisoners are about 60 Cosa Nostra members from Sicily and another 50 from Campania.
Three of the released were being held in solitary confinement so a few weeks under house arrest must feel like a vacation to them. This includes Pasquale Zagaria from Puglia, Vincenzo Iannazzo, an ‘Ndrangheta boss and Francesco Bonura from Sicily.
Their release has prosecutors and detectives worried, including Italy’s anti-mafia Chief Prosecutor Federico Cafiero de Raho who said “It’s particularly odd to have let out those serving time under the country’s harsh prison isolation regime. People got carried away by fears of contagion when thermal scanners would have been enough.”
Many prosecutors and government officials, including Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando, were critical of the decision to release these dangerous prisoners believing that once they returned to their homes they would not hesitate to try and regain control over associates and local businesses. They do not believe house arrest would curtail this.
Orlando Said “Once they’re out of prison, they can do whatever they want. They can give orders to their Picciotti. They can run every kind of illegal business. This is why they have to stay in jail. A huge toll paid by policemen and prosecutors over the past 30 years to fight the mafia would be wasted. I can’t accept that.”
Justice Minister Alfonso Bonafede says Parliament will pass a decree to get all released mobsters back behind bars because of the “changed picture” regarding the coronavirus in Italy.
Bonafede says that the decree will now require anti-mafia prosecutors involved in any decisions on releasing mafia members.
Bonafede also said that Italy had never eased up on the fight against Italy’s mafias. He and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte promised a continued fight of “maximum determination”