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Outrage After TV Interview With Son Of Mafia Boss

There has been outrage after Italian state television aired an interview with the son of one of the country’s most infamous Mafia bosses.

Giuseppe Salvatore Riina appeared on RAI to promote a book dedicated to his father, Toto Riina. He did not condemn his father, thought to have ordered more than 150 murders while boss of Sicily’s Cosa Nostra.

Executives at RAI have been summoned to Italy’s anti-Mafia parliamentary committee.

During the interview the younger Riina, himself a convicted mobster, said he had a happy childhood, calling his father “an upstanding man who respects family and traditional values”. Riina refused to acknowledge the Mafia’s existence, describing it as “everything and nothing at all”.

Italian politicians and victims of Mafia crimes condemned the interview, conducted by veteran talk-show host Bruno Vespa.

Salvatore Borsellino, whose brother Paolo was assassinated on the elder Riina’s orders, said he was nauseated by the interview, calling it a “reopening of wounds” in a Facebook post (in Italian). “I don’t care if Riina’s hands caressed his children. They are the same hands covered in the blood of innocents,” Italy’s former chief anti-Mafia prosecutor Pietro Grasso wrote.

Mr Vespa defended the interview as a valuable insight into the life of a Mafia family. Toto Riina was arrested in 1993, and is currently in jail after being convicted of several murders.