A Very Sicilian Justice
A story of blackmail, conspiracy, courage, passion and fear
Producer, Toby Follett and director, Paul Sapin have been given exceptional access to Sicilian Judge Antonino Di Matteo for their film, A Very Sicilian Justice which is narrated by Helen Mirren, and airs on Al Jazeera English this Thursday 7th July at 2000GMT.
Di Matteo is the most threatened and protected man in Italy. He has twenty-plus bodyguards ensuring his safety 24/7. And this is because he is the chief prosecutor in Italy’s ‘Trial of the Century’. Ten men stand accused of being part of a Mafia-State conspiracy and defendants include five mafia bosses and five members of the political establishment including senior police chiefs and politicians.
The case focuses on Italy’s ‘season of terror’ from 1991 to 1994. During this time Italy’s most famous anti-Mafia judges – Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino – prosecuted hundreds of Cosa Nostra gangsters, before being killed in car bomb attacks along with eight of their bodyguards. Di Matteo, a young law student at the time was inspired by these two men. Now he is taking up where they left off.
In the build up to Di Matteo’s case he has received a series of death threats and anonymous warnings and is now Italy’s most protected man. In an attempt to halt the trial, Mafia boss, Totò Riina, even though he is behind bars, has called for the ‘spectacular’ assassination of Di Matteo, ‘So if we can, kill him. It’ll be an execution like we used to have in Palermo’. Following this announcement, caught on CCTV camera from the prison where Riina resides, soldiers of the Carabinieri Special Forces were added to his security detail.
The threats against Di Matteo have inspired supporters to take to the streets in solidarity with the Judge. However, there is a notable silence from those in authority to add their voices to the protest. Di Matteo has essentially imprisoned himself and those closest to him. ‘I am conflicted. To give up would be a personal defeat. But it would offer respite for me and my family. Finally, a margin of freedom. Maybe even tranquillity. But only maybe. Even if I gave up, it doesn’t mean I would get fewer death threats.’
A Very Sicilian Justice, is an intimate portrait of an Italian public servant living under constant threat for doing his job.