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The former mayor of a small Italian town who was recognised globally for helping migrants integrate was sentenced to over 13 years in prison by a court in Locri, on Thursday.
Domenico ‘Mimmo’ Lucano, who governed Riace between 2004 and 2018, was found guilty of charges including abetting illegal immigration, fraud, and embezzlement by the court in Calabria.
The 13 year and two month sentence was nearly double that requested by prosecutors, with Lucano also ordered to pay back €500,000 ($579,000) in EU and Italian government funds.
Lucano complained to the press that "I don’t know if the mafia bosses receive such sentences," after appearing in court, adding that he had ‘absolutely not’ expected the verdict.
The ex-mayor became internationally known for welcoming migrants and helping them integrate in Riace in a bid to revitalise the town during the European migrant crisis during the 2010s.

SOT, Domenico ‘Mimmo’ Lucano, Former mayor of Riace (Italian): "My wife is so modest she is cleaning people’s houses. I have really nothing. I don’t have properties, I have nothing. I don’t understand all that. I spent my life fighting against mafia gangs. Then when the refugees came, we did – I imagined myself to have contributed to my land, take off the negative image. It was an unforgettable, fantastic experience."

SOT, Domenico ‘Mimmo’ Lucano, Former mayor of Riace (Italian): "I don’t know if the mafia bosses receive such sentences.

Journalist: "What will you do now?"

Lucano: "I don’t realy know, it is a difficult moment. "

Journalist: "Did you expect anything of this kind?"

Lucano: "No, absolutely not. I expected some sort of absolution. I did not imagine it to go this way."

SOT, Domenico ‘Mimmo’ Lucano, Former mayor of Riace (Italian): "I did not get even one cent. What they are doing to me, I accept this. But what I have to say, I didn’t even have money to pay my lawyer. They had to give me their lawyer. I saw these huge numbers. But I just need a little money to live, how can I stop such things (fraud allegations).
#Locri #Italy #immigration
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