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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Lorenzo Tondo in Palermo

Sicilian mobster asks judge to order seizure of Roberto Saviano book

Roberto Saviano
Roberto Saviano, whose 2006 bestselling book Gomorrah revealed the secrets of the Neapolitan mafia. Photograph: Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse/Rex/Shutterstock

A Sicilian mobster has asked a judge to order the seizure of all copies of a book by the author Roberto Saviano, who is living under police protection after he faced death threats for exposing mafia secrets.

Giuseppe Graviano, who is serving a life sentence in a maximum security prison, filed a lawsuit for defamation last week against the author of books including Gomorrah, and Solo è il Coraggio (Lonely is the Courage), about the life of the judge Giovanni Falcone, who was killed by the mafia in 1992.

In a document written in his own hand and addressed to the Trento prosecutor’s office, Graviano claims Saviano’s book on Falcone contains inaccuracies about him, in particular about his nickname. According to Saviano, Graviano was nicknamed “Mother Nature” because he had the power to grant or take life. The mafia boss says, however, that he earned it for being “very altruistic”.

Graviano asked the court in Trento to seize and withdraw all copies of the book from Italian bookshops.

According to magistrates, the 59-year-old was one of the organisers of bombing campaigns in Milan, Rome and Florence in 1993, together with Matteo Messina Denaro, the mobster arrested this month after 30 years on the run.

Saviano said: “Graviano’s request is … proof that the power of intimidation of the mafia never ends. As strange as it may seem, the mobsters are not afraid of someone writing about them, but they fear how they write about them.”

In 2006, Gomorrah revealed the secrets of the Neapolitan mafia. Since then he has lived in hiding, emerging only under police escort.

Last week Trento prosecutors rejected Graviano’s request to seize the Saviano books. The final decision rests with a judge who has not yet ruled on the case.

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