By Lorenzo Tondo
The former mayor of an Italian town who revitalised his community by welcoming and integrating migrants has been sentenced to more than 13 years in jail for abetting illegal migration and for “irregularities” in managing the asylum seekers.
Domenico Lucano, 63, known locally as Mimmo, the former mayor of Riace, a tiny hilltop town in the southern Calabria region, was put under house arrest in 2018 for allegedly abetting illegal immigration, embezzlement, and fraud.
According to the magistrates, Lucano had flouted the public tender process by awarding waste collection contracts to two cooperatives that were set up to help migrants look for work.
His arrest came a week after Italy’s former far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, announced a series of anti-immigration measures, which included slashing funds for migrant reception and integration. It also followed the suspension by the public broadcaster, Rai, of a TV show about Riace during the investigation.
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