Italian minister OKs family visits for ailing top Mafia boss

Italy's justice minister has given special permission to the family of a Mafia boss who is in a coma to visit his bedside.

Justice Minister Andrea Orlando on Thursday authorized relatives of Salvatore "Toto" Riina to go see him at a hospital in the northern city of Parma.

Ministry officials say Riina, who turned 87 on Thursday, is in a medically induced coma. Italian media have reported that his health has deteriorated following two recent surgeries.

Riina is serving 26 life sentences for murder convictions as a powerful Cosa Nostra boss. He was captured in Palermo, Sicily, his powerbase, in 1993 after more than 20 years as a fugitive.

He has been imprisoned under a law that requires strict security measures for top mobsters, including limits on family visits.