For Immediate Release, October 15, 2014
Contact: Barbara Becker, EqualShot, 917-727-1094
Nicola Gratteri Wins 2014 Civil Courage Prize
Italian Prosecutor Honored for Relentless Efforts to Stem the Mafia
New York, NY — Nicola Gratteri, Italian magistrate and Special Prosecutor for Reggio Calabria, will receive the 15th annual Civil Courage Prize for his work, at great personal risk, to halt the Mafia group known as ‘Ndrangheta. The Train Foundation has awarded the prize of $50,000 since 2000.
New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. will introduce Gratteri at the October 15 award ceremony in New York City. Mr. Vance himself has prosecuted organized crime, dating from his time as Assistant District Attorney in New York in the 1980s.
Nicola Gratteri has been on the front lines of the battle against ‘Ndrangheta for the past 25 years, under constant threat to his life. He is considered to be the successor to the late legendary anti-mafia magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.
Gratteri has been relentless in his efforts to stop the organization’s international narcotic trafficking, arms dealing and other illegal activities. Though particularly active in the Southern Italian region of Calabria, the ‘Ndrangheta has far-reaching global influence, including illegal activities and investments in Europe, the US, South America and Africa.
Gratteri has played a seminal role in the arrest of more than 120 criminal fugitives, and personally led investigations which have eradicated some of the most important branches of ‘Ndrangheta. As a result, he has received countless threats to his life and is required to be on the move constantly, escorted by bodyguards.
“Italian organized crime presents a particularly difficult and dangerous problem, in part because it has infiltrated the very structures of government and, indeed, the Catholic Church,” says John Train, Chairman of the Train Foundation.
Gratteri's most recent book, Acqua Santissima, written with reporter Antonio Nicaso, exposes the dense relationship between the Church and the ‘Ndrangheta, possibly encouraging Pope Francis to excommunicate the Mafia earlier this year.
Gratteri has also created an extensive outreach program to alleviate poverty and create opportunities for the local youth. He hopes to keep them from moving into a life of organized crime.
Former Civil Courage Prize recipients include: Dr. Denis Mukwege of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Yu Jie of China; Lydia Cacho Ribeiro of Mexico; Triveni Acharya of India; Reverend Canon Andrew White of Iraq and the United Kingdom; Aminatou Haidar of Western Sahara; Ali Salem of Egypt; Phillip Buck of North Korea; Rafael Marques de Morais of Angola; Min Ko Naing of Burma; Anna Politkovskaya of Russia; Emadeddin Baghi of Iran; Lovemore Madhuku of Zimbabwe; Shahnaz Bukhari of Pakistan; Vladimiro Roca Antunez and Gustov Arcos Bergnes of Cuba; Paul Kamara of Sierra Leone; and Natasa Kandic of the former Yugoslavia.
A posthumous award was given to Judge Giovanni Falcone, assassinated by the Mafia.
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