Rome

Center left calls on PdL to withdraw mafia sentencing slash

'It's a question of decency'

Center left calls on PdL to withdraw mafia sentencing slash

(see related) Rome, May 21 - The center left was quick to rebuff a proposal from a Senator in Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party on Tuesday to slash the penalty for mafia collusion. Democratic Party (PD) MP Laura Garavini called on the former premier's center-right PdL to withdraw Senator Giacomo Caliendo's proposal that that would reduce the maximum possible jail sentence for the crime of "external involvement in mafia association" from a maximum 12 years to to five. The bill would also remove the possibility of prison sentences being handed to people found guilty of aiding people involved in a mafia association if no financial advantage was gained from this assistance. The draft legislation would furthermore prevent prosecutors from wiretapping the conversations of people suspected of doing this. "It's a question of decency," she said. "The proposal simply aims to remove any possibility of uncovering who's helping the mafia from the outside". The bill comes as Marcello Dell'Utri, a former close aide of Berlusconi's and a former PdL Senator, is appealing to the supreme Court of Cassation against a seven-year conviction for the crime in question. PD Senator Nicola Latorre accused the PdL of using the bill to create discord in the fledgling left-right coalition of Premier Enrico Letta, a moderate from the PD. "The sense is that the PdL is issuing proposals that they know will profoundly divide the two parties," he said. "I hope this isn't the case".

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