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Senator with alleged mafia ties arrested after parliamentary vote

05 agosto 2016 | 12.45
LETTURA: 1 minuti

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A lawmaker accused of close links to the powerful Calabrian mafia or 'Ndrangheta has been arrested after Italy's Senate voted on Thursday to lift his parliamentary immunity.

Centre-right Senator Antonio Stefano Caridi, 47, is now in Rome's Rebibbia jail. His lawyer said Caridi had declined to comment on his arrest.

Caridi left the Senate upper house of parliament on Thursday on the brink of tears after the secret ballot in which the motion passed with 154 in favour, 110 against and 12 abstentions.

"We are happy... to have sent out a clear message to all those who think they can be saved from accusations of very serious crimes thanks purely to their parliamentary immunity," said senator Mario Giarrusso from the anti-establishment Five Star party after the vote.

Before the ballot Caridi told the Senate he was innocent.

"The accusation against me is shocking and unjust," said Caridi, who was elected in February 2013.

"I never sold out my role as parliamentarian and I never struck pacts with organised crime".

Caridi, who belongs to a mainly centre-right parliamentary group called Great Autonomies and Freedom (GAL), had "the power to engineer political and economic destinies," according to anti-mafia prosecutors.

The prosecutors had requested his arrest in July describing him as a group of so-called "invisibles" connecting organised crime to Italy's institutions.

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