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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Chiara Fiorillo

Brother of boy, 12, dissolved in acid by Mafia boss speaks out after his capture

A man whose brother was dissolved in acid under the orders of Matteo Messina Denaro has spoken out after the Mafia boss was arrested in Sicily yesterday.

Nicola Di Matteo's brother Giuseppe was kidnapped in 1993 in an attempt to blackmail his father into not giving evidence against the Mafia, Italian prosecutors said.

The 12-year-old boy was held in captivity for two years before he was strangled and dissolved in acid.

Messina Denaro, one of the mobsters who ordered little Giuseppe's kidnapping and murder, was finally caught yesterday in Palermo while he visited a private clinic for cancer treatment.

Italian police officers led him out of the clinic while other patients, who had been asked to stay outside for several hours, clapped and thanked all those who have worked to combat Mafia and give justice to its victims.

A mugshot of the Mafia boss after his arrest (CARABINIERI HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

After learning of the mobster's cancer diagnosis and arrest, Giuseppe's brother Nicola told Italian news agency Adnkronos he hopes Messina Denaro, 60, will suffer for a long time.

Mr Di Matteo said he and his mother felt a "mixture of join and pain" after the Mafia boss was captured as Messina Denaro's arrest "reopened old wounds".

He explained: "I've read that he is sick. Well, I hope that he has a long life so he can suffer for as long as possible, the same suffering he gave to my brother, an innocent child.

Giuseppe Di Matteo was kidnapped, strangled and his body was dissolved in acid (

"A wound has reopened, the memory of that horrible period. I thank the police and the judiciary, who have always been by our side.

"We hope all the truth will be unveiled. These criminals never go too far from their territories as they can rely on a lot of people who are ready to defend them."

While he hopes an investigation will find out how Messina Denaro managed to stay under the radar and remain on the run for 30 years before being caught yesterday, Mr Di Matteo said it is impossible for him to forgive the Mafia boss for torturing his little brother Giuseppe.

Italy's top wanted Mafia boss, Matteo Messina Denaro, was arrested in Palermo after 30 years on the run (ITALIAN CARABINIERI PRESS OFFICE)

He said: "It is unthinkable [to forgive him] in the face of the atrocities they imposed on Giuseppe. You can't forgive such a thing.

"Giuseppe was a little boy, forgiveness is unthinkable. Now, he must suffer like my brother."

Monica Genovese, the lawyer of little Giuseppe's family, thanked Palermo's public prosecutor's office for its effort in tracking down Messina Denaro.

Italian police officers stand in front of the Maddalena private clinic in Palermo after the arrest of Messina Denaro (AFP via Getty Images)

She said: "Nothing will be able to restore Giuseppe's life or compensate for his disappearance in any way, but certainly all those who took part in this heinous crime, in addition to having to answer before divine justice, will now also have to do so before human justice.

"An extraordinary success by the Palermo prosecutor's office and another step in the process of bringing to justice all those who played a role in the worst crime of the Mafia."

The frontpage of Italian national newspaper La Repubblica the day after Messina Denaro's arrest (Getty Images)

"An extraordinary success by the Palermo prosecutor's office and another step in the process of bringing to justice all those who played a role in the worst crime of the Mafia."

Messina Denaro, who once bragged about "filling a cemetery by himself", was wearing a brown leather jacket and white skull cap and his trademark tinted glasses when he was arrested in Palermo on Monday morning.

After being asked by officers his name at the Palermo clinic, he arrogantly said: "My name is Matteo Messina Denaro."

Following the arrest, Palermo attorney Maurizio de Lucia said: "Today is a historic day - we dedicate it to all victims of Mafia."

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