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Statue of slain anti-mafia prosecutor decapitated in Palermo

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Statue of slain anti-mafia prosecutor decapitated in Palermo
Anti-mafia prosecutor Giovanni Falcone. Photo: Gerard Foulet/AFP
10:35 CEST+02:00
Unknown vandals in the Sicilian capital Palermo broke the head off a statue of murdered anti-mafia prosecutor Giovanni Falcone on Monday.

The statue's head was then rammed against the wall of the Falcone-Borsellino, which it stood outside, causing further damage to the nose and eye area.

"The damage and contempt towards the statue dedicated to Giovanni Falcone are very serious acts; even more so because they were also aimed at damaging a school which has for years carried out important work of awareness and social education," said Palermo mayor Leoluca Orlando.

Prosecutor Falcone was killed in 1992 after a mafia hit-man placed a bomb under his car on a highway near the town of Capaci. The blast also killed the judge's wife and three members of his security detail.

Falcone, who was 53 when he died, spent most of his life trying to fight the mafia, bringing about the so-called ‘maxi trial' in 1986-1987, which led to the conviction of 342 mafiosi.

His killing was ordered by the mafia godfather, Toto Riina, who is serving multiple life sentences in prison.

The people who carried out the attack were arrested shortly after the crime, but recent years have seen further arrests in connection with Falcone's murder, with eight people - all of them already in prison for other crimes - charged in 2013.

READ MORE: How the murder of Giovanni Falcone marked a turning point for Sicily

An image of the statue's damaged head. Photo: Comune di Palermo

Just hours after the initial act of vandalism, Palermo authorities reported that a poster with a picture of Falcone had been burned outside another school in the regional capital.

Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni condemned the incident on Monday afternoon, saying: "Insulting the memory of Falcone is a weak show of cowardice."

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