By Searchlight Team


By Alfio Bernabei

Paolo Bellini

In a significant step in search for the truth behind the bombing at

Bologna railway station that killed 85 people and wounded 200 on 2

August 1980 the far-right militant Paolo Bellini has been found guilty

of direct involvement in the massacre. He has been sentenced to life


 The hearings at Bologna law Court began in April 2021 presided over by

Judge Francesco Caruso with a number of lawyers acting on behalf of the

Association of the Families of the Victims. In previous trials Valerio

Fioravanti, Francesca Mambro, Luigi Ciavardini and Gilberto Cavallini

were found guilty of the massacre with the latter now waiting for the

results of an appeal set to take place in 2023.

 The trial just ended focused on a film taken by a tourist minutes after

the explosion. In the film a man could be seen bearing a resemblance to

Bellini who was later listed among those suspected of involvement in the

massacre but was acquitted in 1992 for lack of evidence. In 1980 Bellini

had made himself virtually invisible, living under the false name of

Roberto da Silva and acting as a Brazilian citizen.

 Under oath, his former wife, Maurizia Bonini, admitted having lied in

the past to protect him from being incriminated. She had corroborated

Bellini’s alibi seeking to prove that he could not possibly have been at

10.25 in Bologna, the time of the explosion, as he had turned up for an

appointment at about 9.30 in Rimini, 73 miles away, in the company of

his 9-year-old niece. “It’s him. I recognize him” she admitted after

watching once more the film showing the man on the railway platform. In

reality, she confessed, he was late when he arrived at the appointment.

Bellini, now 69-year-old, belonged to the far-right organisation

Avanguardia Nazionale on whose instigation he killed a young left wing

militant, Alceste Campanile, in 1975. In 1999 he confessed to this

killing adding that he had also killed a number of people on behalf of

mafia bosses. But he denied any involvement in the Bologna massacre. His

lawyers will probably launch an appeal for a retrial.

During these latest hearings it was found that Bellini began his

militancy under the influence of his father who was in close contact

with leading political figures, including Giorgio Almirante of the

Movimento Sociale Italiano, the post war reincarnation of the fascist

party. He ended up becoming involved in the clandestine army of foot

soldiers used by the Gladio-Stay Behind network which operated in close

contact with leading figures in the Italian secret service linked to

Licio Gelli’s P2 Masonic Lodge, all intending to bring about through a

“strategy of tension” a state of emergency to justify a military coup.

The Court hearings provided evidence that the Bologna bombing was

financed by funds that Gelli obtained through fraudulent claims from

Roberto Calvi’s Banco Ambrosiano and that preparations for the bombing

at Bologna started at least a year before the event, as did plans to set

up false trails to lead investigations off track.

Evidence also emerged showing that fascist terrorists were using secret

telephone facilities which were outside the public network and that, as

in Bellini’s case, assistance was provided to enable them to obtain

training in the piloting of small planes.

Further readings

41 years on – Remembering the Bologna Bombings | Searchlight

(searchlightmagazine.com) [4]

Paolo Bellini trial for Bologna bombing continues 41 years on |

Searchlight (searchlightmagazine.com) [5]