[Interview] A woman's fight against organised crime in European region

Sunday, May 13, 2012
Brussels: It's hard to imagine someone with a better background for chairing the EP's recently established a special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering than Sonia Alfano. Not only is she from Sicily, but she has also been fighting organised crime ever since the mafia killed her father in 1993. According to the Liberal-Democrat MEP, her committee should provide - in cooperation with judicial and investigating authorities - the right instruments for combating the mafia.

Why was it necessary to create a special committee against organised crime?

Normal laws cannot solve the problem of organised crime and the different forms of the mafia. In the past, ordinary laws have facilitated the process of criminal systems setting up, even in countries like Sweden or the Netherlands, which in people's minds are immune to these problems.

What are your initial thoughts about what should go into a single anti-mafia resolution?

We have to give the right instruments to the people who fight the mafia every day. This is the role of legislators.

In order to compile a single anti-mafia text, it's vital to listen to the judicial and investigating authorities around the EU. From my point of view, we should introduce at European level the "offence of mafia association", which for the moment only exists in Italy.

We should create a tool that will stop arrested mafia bosses working from jail, maybe through the so-called hard jail, which corresponds to article 41-bis of the Italian Prison Administration Act.
I'd also like to reassure European citizens that this will definitely not violate human rights. Hard jail means that the prisoner is in a single cell and cannot communicate with other criminals.

How will the fight against organised crime work?

We have to attack the estates of mafia criminals. As a Sicilian citizen, unfortunately, I've experienced this kind of problem and I know that a mafia boss can stay in jail for 10 years and still retain the role of boss. But, if we confiscate his fortune and goods, he will lose credibility and power. We'd like these goods to come back to citizens through public services.

The fight against the mafia will be realised by politicians, institutions and the judicial and investigating authorities working together.

Will the committee be looking for cooperation beyond the EU?

The 'Ndrangheta - a criminal organisation in Italy centred in Calabria - is the richest criminal system in the world and has the monopoly on drugs trafficking. It has the Colombian drug cartel's absolute trust. We cannot deal with this kind of system with ordinary laws or only through Eurojust cooperation.

We want a deeper collaboration between our and other countries' judicial and investigating authorities.
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