Europe

Italy president hugs those like him who lost family to Mafia

  • Italian Presdient Sergio Mattarella speaks at an event to honor victims of Mafia crimes, in the Calabrian town of Locri, southern Italy, Sunday, March 19, 2017. Mattarella on Sunday paid tribute to those slain for opposing organized crime, including judges, police officers, union leaders, entrepreneurs, and politicians, like his own brother, who were killed by the mob. (Francesco Ammendola/Italian Presidential Press Service pool photo via AP)

    Italian Presdient Sergio Mattarella speaks at an event to honor victims of Mafia crimes, in the Calabrian town of Locri, southern Italy, Sunday, March 19, 2017. Mattarella on Sunday paid tribute to those slain for opposing organized crime, including judges, police officers, union leaders, entrepreneurs, and politicians, like his own brother, who were killed by the mob. (Francesco Ammendola/Italian Presidential Press Service pool photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Italian Presdient Sergio Mattarella, right, hugs an unidentified woman at an event to honor victims of Mafia crimes, in the Calabrian town of Locri, southern Italy, Sunday, March 19, 2017. Mattarella on Sunday paid tribute to those slain for opposing organized crime, including judges, police officers, union leaders, entrepreneurs, and politicians, like his own brother, who were killed by the mob. (Francesco Ammendola/Italian Presidential Press Service pool photo via AP)

    Italian Presdient Sergio Mattarella, right, hugs an unidentified woman at an event to honor victims of Mafia crimes, in the Calabrian town of Locri, southern Italy, Sunday, March 19, 2017. Mattarella on Sunday paid tribute to those slain for opposing organized crime, including judges, police officers, union leaders, entrepreneurs, and politicians, like his own brother, who were killed by the mob. (Francesco Ammendola/Italian Presidential Press Service pool photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Italy's president, whose brother was murdered by Cosa Nostra, has traveled to an organized crime stronghold in southern Italy to honor hundreds of Italians slain by the country's mobsters over the past decades.

President Sergio Mattarella praised the judges, prosecutors, police officers, union leaders, businessmen and politicians who courageously combatted or denounced organized crime.

During the ceremony Sunday in Locri, a Calabrian town that is a longtime base of the 'ndrangheta crime syndicate, the names of innocent victims, some accidentally hit by crossfire of feuding crime clans, were read aloud. Among the names was that of the president's brother, Piersanti Mattarella, the Sicilian governor assassinated in Palermo in 1980.

Mattarella lamented that the "Mafia is still strong" and controls or tries to infiltrate much of Italy's economy.