“FIFTH MAN” PAOLO BELLINI FOUND GUILTY OF THE 1980 BOLOGNA MASSACRE
By Alfio Bernabei
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.
41 years on – Remembering the Bologna Bombings | Searchlight
Paolo Bellini trial for Bologna bombing continues 41 years on |
Searchlight (searchlightmagazine.com)