Italian prosecutor seeks life term for top mafia suspect

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An Italian prosecutor on Saturday sought life sentences for the Italian top suspect in a 2007 mafia massacre in Germany and eight alleged criminal partners.

A suspected top member of the 'Ndrangheta mafia grouping, Giovanni Strangio was arrested in the Netherlands in 2009 for allegedly leading a shootout outside a pizzeria in Duisburg, western Germany, in August 2007 that left six rival clan members dead. He was later extradited to Italy.

The German killings were the result of a long-running vendetta between the Nirta-Strangio and Pelle-Vottari clans of the 'Ndrangheta mafia, one of four groups operating in Italy.

Prosecutor Nicola Gratteri on Saturday asked a court in Locri, south Italy, to also impose life sentences for Francesco Nirta, Giovanni Luca Nirta, Giuseppe Nirta, Francesco Pelle, Sebastiano Romeo, Sebastiano Strangio, Francesco Vottari et Sebastiano Vottari.

She also demanded 18-year jail terms for Antonio Carabetta, Sonia Carabetta, Antonio Pelle, and 15 years for Luca Liotino.

The killings "were the result of deep-rooted and blind hatred that accumulated as years went by", the prosecutor said in closing remarks.

The battle between the two clans has left 16 people dead since 1991. Investigators point to a cycle of reprisals following the murder on 25 December, 2006 of Maria Strangio, clan leader Giovanni Nirta's wife.

In 2009, an Italian court jailed 31 people for the Duisburg massacre, one of them for 13 years.

© 2011 AFP

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