Italy’s jailed Mafia boss Messina Denaro very ill – lawyer

ROME (Reuters) – Jailed top Sicilian Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro’s health is fading and he urgently needs to be moved from prison to hospital for treatment, one of his lawyers said on Tuesday.Messina Denaro, 61, was suffering from cancer at the time of his arrest in Palermo in January after 30 years on the run.

He is being held in a maximum security prison in the central Italian town of L’Aquila and had surgery in the local hospital at the end of June.

Messina Denaro was now too poorly to be kept in prison under the strict regime imposed on Mafia members, lawyer Alessandro Cerella told the AGI news agency. An appeal would be lodged with the local legal authorities to allow him to move to hospital.

The former Mafia boss was surviving on a diet of fruit juices and food supplements, he added.

Dubbed “the last Godfather” by the Italian press, Messina Denaro is not believed to have given any information to the police after he was seized outside a private health clinic in the Sicilian capital Palermo on Jan. 16.

He has multiple convictions for numerous crimes, including for his role in planning the 1992 murders of anti-mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino – crimes that shocked Italy and brought a crackdown on the Sicilian mob.

(Writing by Crispian Balmer and Keith Weir, editing by Alvise Armellini and Angus MacSwan)