Mafia leader known as ‘The Tractor’ dies in Italian prison

PALERMO , Italy, July 13 (UPI) — Longtime Mafia leader Bernardo Provenzano died in a Palermo, Italy, prison hospital Wednesday, Italian media reported.

Provenzano, 83, was arrested in 2006 after 43 years on the run from authorities, and was sentenced to life in prison for several murders, including the killings in 1992 of anti-Mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.

His illnesses while in prison, including bladder cancer, severe cognitive impairment and Parkinson’s disease, forced the suspension of negotiations with prosecutors over unsolved crimes. Even prior to his health setbacks he refused to cooperate with Italy’s justice system, compelling Italian authorities to give him the harshest of treatments in jail, known as “41-bis” after the section of the Italian criminal code that suspends certain privileges for uncooperative and dangerous inmates.

He was nicknamed “the Tractor” for his willingness, an informant commented, to “mow down” rivals, as well as “the Accountant” for his care in taking risks and managing the Mafia’s financial empire, the BBC reported.

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