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CRIME

Duisburg mafia killers on trial in Italy

Fourteen people went on trial Wednesday in southern Italy for crimes relating to a bloody vendetta between two clans of the 'Ndrangheta mafia that led to a massacre last year in Duisburg, Germany.

Duisburg mafia killers on trial in Italy
Photo: DPA

Three of them, including the main suspect in the Duisburg slayings, are at large and being tried in absentia by the court in Locri, Calabria. Ranging in age from 20 to 68, they face charges of murder, criminal association in Italy and Germany, arms and drugs trafficking, and illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

Another 43 defendants have already been on trial in the affair in Reggio di Calabria, the regional capital, since October 20, after an investigation that began well before six suspected mafia members were gunned down in Duisburg in August 2007.

Since 1991, the gangland vendetta between the Vottari-Pelle and Strangio-Nirta clans based in the tiny Calabria town of San Luca has claimed a dozen lives besides the Duisburg victims. Five of the six Italians killed outside a pizza restaurant in Duisburg were from San Luca.

Investigators think the slayings were in reprisal for the Christmas Day 2006 murder of Maria Strangio, wife of clan leader Giovanni Nirta. Fugitive Giovanni Strangio, 29, a relative of the victim, is the main suspect in the Duisburg massacre.

The Italian Eurispes institute estimated the ‘Ndrangheta’s turnover in 2007

at €44 billion ($55 billion), the equivalent of nearly three percent of Italy’s gross domestic product (GDP).

CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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