The journalist Salvo Palazzolo of La Repubblica is under investigation for having revealed that there would be a trial of 3 policemen accused of side-tracking an inquiry three hours before the defendants were informed
The search of the house of Salvo Palazzolo legal affairs editor of the daily newspaper La Repubblica (Palermo edition) and Mafia expert has led to wave of protests. The house search was carried out by police on the 14th September 2018 on the instructions of the state prosecutor of Catania. It ended with the confiscation of two mobile phones (his personal one and the company one), a tablet and three hard disks. The day after the Vienna-based OSCE representative for media freedom, Harlem Désir asked for an explanation from the Italian government (read here) and the Italian minister for justice Bonafede with an unprecedented initiative sent his inspectors to the Catania prosecutor’s office for clarifications.
THE DISPUTE – Palazzolo is under investigation for revealing a state secret, in collaboration with an unknown public official, and for having published on the 8th March 2018 in the Palermo edition of the daily La Repubblica the following clamorous hitherto unpublished news: the completion of the investigation into the three policemen accused of having side-tracked the investigation aimed at discovering those responsible for the massacre in via D’Amelio (an attack organised by Cosa Nostra on the 19th July 1992 in Palermo in which the judge Paolo Borsellino together with five of his bodyguards were killed.)
The article added that the three policemen allegedly led the investigators off track, directing the statements of the collaborator Vincenzo Scarantino (read here) and hence they would be tried for slander. The first hearing had been fixed for the 20th September 2018. The prosecutor of Catania charged Palazzolo with having revealed this news three hours before the proceedings were notified to the defence lawyers of the policemen, two of whom for this reason, filed a statement asking that those responsible for leaking this news be prosecuted. Palazzolo was assisted by the legal team of his newspaper. His lawyers asked the Review Court for the restitution of the material confiscated during the house search.
THE SUBJECT OF THE SEARCH WARRANT– Palazzolo was assisted by the legal team of his newspaper. His lawyers asked the Review Court for the restitution of the material confiscated during the house search. “I am not making any statement regarding the investigation into me – Salvo Palazzolo told Ossigeno – because I respect the legal authorities and I have maximum faith that the affair will be clarified. Regarding the affair, I feel I have a clear conscience. I know I’ve worked well. I have informed the public of the developments in a matter of great public interest.” Palazzolo launched an appeal to Italian journalists inviting them to continue the research to reveal the truth of Mafia massacres (read here). On the 17th September he gave an account to the Sicilian Anti-Mafia Commission presided over by Claudio Fava.
SOLIDARITY – The journalist received support both from the journalists’ organisations and from various individuals also from abroad. Expressions of solidarity have been sent by the national and regional branches of the Order of Journalists; by Ossigeno per l’Informazione, by UNCI (National Union of Italian Crime Reporters), by the Sicilian Press Association and by FNSI (the Italian National Press Federation). The FNSI on the 20th September 2018, coinciding with the start of the trial in Caltanissetta of those charged with side-tracking, organised a press conference in its Rome headquarters inviting other journalists who have experienced house searches, intimidations, threats and reprisals for having published news about the Mafia and its massacres. Among the personalities who expressed solidarity with the journalist were the mayor of Palermo, Leoluca Orlando; Salvatore Borsellino; the minister of justice Alfonso Bonafede who as Il Fatto Quotidiano has revealed, has sent his inspectors to the court of Catania to check on the legitimacy of the action of the prosecutor; the OCSE Representative for media freedom, Harlem Désir (read here) and Reporters Sans Frontières.