Bernardo Provenzano, successor of Toto Riina at the head of Cosa Nostra, super boss of the Corleonesi clan, died at age 83. He was captured on 11 April 2006, after 43 years of hiding on a farm located a few kilometers from his hometown and from his family house.
The decline of the old godfather begins on 12 May 2012, when the recordings of the cameras in the high-security prison of Parma show him with a bag on his head. It is one of the first signs of neurodegenerative disease from which Provnzano will never recover. And a “proof” that the boss is no longer the same as he used to be, is also the audio interview made a few days later by the then prosecutor Antonio Ingroia and Ignazio De Francisci in prison, who pay him a visit to check whether he had any intention to collaborate with justice. Words disjointed and difficult to answer. Provenzano babbles and confuses past and present. For some fakes, others experience symptoms of a disease that gallops. Disjointed words and difficulty to answer. Provenzano babbles and confuses past and present. According to some people, he simulates, according to others, he shows symptoms of a galloping disease.
Then he has fallen in prison, in Parma, in December 2012. It provokes the godfather a brain hematoma, he falls into a coma and is operated. It saves him, but he never recovers. His sons Angelo and Francesco Paolo and his wife Saveria Palazzolo meet him. He is still under hard prison regime, which never ends for him. The images filmed in the interview room of the institute of punishment show him with a cap on his head. He is struggling to hold up the phone and to recognize his family members. Since then, dozens of visiting doctors. Consultants partly appointed by the lawyers, who are demanding dismissal from the hard prison regime, judge experts. Defendant in the trial on the so-called State-Mafia negotiations, the investigating magistrate declares him unable to participate consciously in the process. An endless series of reports end up to the pleadings.
In the proceedings on the deal, in which every six months, the investigating judge has to make a statement concerning the conditions of the boss, and in the proceedings prompted by Provenzano’s lawyers, who first ask the revocation of the hard prison regime, then, to the various relevant supervisory courts – in the meantime he was transferred from Parma to Milan – the suspension of the sentence. Consultants and experts, except a few exceptions, are clear: the boss is very serious. The pathologies that are plaguing him are “multiple and severely disabling”: from severe cognitive impairment – the boss has not been speaking for years – to the problems of involuntary movements, arterial hypertension, chronic liver infection, in addition to the consequences of interventions for emptying the hematoma suffered from head trauma, and for the removal of the thyroid and prostate cancer.
The judges appoint a special guardian, his son, Angelo, who will be notified of the proceedings in view of the mental incapacity of the father. “How can he speak of danger and the possibility to send messages outside if it he does not even speak?” repeated his lawyers in instances where they claim that requirements for the application of 41 bis regime were not met. But the answer is always the same. Although the Supreme Court, among the last to act, no longer speaks of dangerousness. And, in confirming the decision of the Milan Probate Court, which rejects a sentence of deferral requests, it speaks of the need to adequately protect the detainee’s right to health. Basically, the judges say, in prison Provenzano is treated better, moving him elsewhere would be more harmful.