Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni has publicly backed two MPs after they exposed leftist links with a convicted anarcho-terrorist and mafia bosses.
One of them, Giovanni Donzelli, revealed in the Italian parliament last week that representatives from the opposition Democratic Party (PD), Italy’s main centre-left party, had visited hunger-striking anarchist terrorist Alfredo Cospito, who has been convicted of shooting the CEO of a nuclear power company, as well as bombing a police barracks.
Donzelli, a member of Meloni’s Fratelli D’Italia, stressed that the PD parliamentarians had also met with high-ranking mafia bosses in the prison—at Cospito’s request.
According to a report from Anza, Donzelli, along with another fellow Fratelli MP Andrea Delmastro, are being pressured to resign over the revelations, with the left-wing opposition accusing the pair of illegally leaking confidential information to attack their political opposition.
However, on February 7th, Meloni defended the two parliamentarians, saying that the documents were not covered under any secrecy requirements, citing the fact that much of the information had already been published by newspapers Domani and Republicca.
[T]he Ministry of Justice has repeatedly said that they were not documents covered by secrecy. … this sensitive information was already present in the newspapers.
She went on to criticise those on the Left who would meet with dangerous criminal elements within Italy, both terrorists and organised criminals alike, saying “the state cannot come to terms with those who threaten it, this applies to the mafia yesterday and to anarchists today.”
Her reference to anarchist attacks—inspired by Cospito’s hunger strike—that have targeted the Italian state, especially abroad, was unavoidable. The crisis was further reinforced by the report on Wednesday, February 8th, that Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs Antonio Tajani would have his security increased after receiving death threats.
Cospito is on hunger strike to abolish the highly restrictive 41-bis prison regime which he has been placed under. The 41-bis was designed to prevent mafia bosses from running their operations from within prison, and Cospito has discussed its abolition with his mafia cellmates, drawing attention to possible leftist-criminal collusion.
Meanwhile, the opposition has maintained focus on the legality of the revelations, and continued calling for Donzelli and Delmastro’s resignations. The issue has, in some ways, become a flashpoint between government and the opposition. Giuseppe Conte, former prime minister and current president of the Five Star Movement (M5S) says this is a point of unity between them and the PD, and that he is open to “other opposition forces, or those who are in the middle and are uncertain about what to do,” if they “decide to support the resignation.”
Delmastro swung back at the demands while speaking to Il Biellese:
It seems absurd to me that my political adversaries, who never miss an opportunity to ask for the state secrets to be removed from so many dramatic dossiers … are now demanding exactly the opposite.
According to Delmastro, the opposition’s concern about legality is ultimately in bad faith, and an attempt to distract from the real story at hand.
The PD is also under heat for corruption since its MEPs are now embroiled in the Qatargate scandal.