This article examines kidnappings for ransom by the ’Ndrangheta in Italy from the more measured perspective that the passage of time allows. To investigate the importance and characteristics of this phenomenon, we analyse a new database compiled from various sources. We put forward an explanation of the way that the kidnapping era ended that derives both from statistical analysis of the 654 instances surveyed and from a case study (the abduction of Cesare Casella). Within this analysis, we award significant weight to the changing political context and to two particular factors: the crime’s politicisation under new electoral pressure, and the behaviour of law enforcement agencies. The two factors often regarded as the principal explanations for the end of kidnapping, legislation on the freezing of assets and the appeal of the drugs trade, are treated here as simply aspects of the overall picture. The disappearance of this criminal practice seems to have followed a hiatus in relationships and a reciprocal show of strength. Although the repertoire of state threats, notably military action and prison sentences, was substantial, the political value of victims’ lives and the weakness of the government were powerful weapons for the final cohort of kidnappers.

Kidnappings by the ’Ndrangheta: characteristics, institutional countermeasures and turning points

Cristina Barbieri;
2021

Abstract

This article examines kidnappings for ransom by the ’Ndrangheta in Italy from the more measured perspective that the passage of time allows. To investigate the importance and characteristics of this phenomenon, we analyse a new database compiled from various sources. We put forward an explanation of the way that the kidnapping era ended that derives both from statistical analysis of the 654 instances surveyed and from a case study (the abduction of Cesare Casella). Within this analysis, we award significant weight to the changing political context and to two particular factors: the crime’s politicisation under new electoral pressure, and the behaviour of law enforcement agencies. The two factors often regarded as the principal explanations for the end of kidnapping, legislation on the freezing of assets and the appeal of the drugs trade, are treated here as simply aspects of the overall picture. The disappearance of this criminal practice seems to have followed a hiatus in relationships and a reciprocal show of strength. Although the repertoire of state threats, notably military action and prison sentences, was substantial, the political value of victims’ lives and the weakness of the government were powerful weapons for the final cohort of kidnappers.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11571/1443534
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