( dpa ) - A Palermo court on Friday sentenced Sicilian regional President Salvatore Cuffaro to five years in jail on charges relating to passing on confidential information about a trial involving so-called "moles" in the city's anti-Mafia directorate.
Presiding judge Vittorio Alcamo reading the sentence said Cuffaro had been found guilty "without the aggravating circumstances" of conspiring or wilfully intending to help the Sicilian Mafia, as alleged by prosecutors.
"I knew I had done nothing to favour the Mafia," Cuffaro who was present in court, told reporters shortly after the sentencing late Friday afternoon.
The regional president and centre-right politician, said he would appeal against the sentence, "so that light can be shed on the other charges" and said he planned to be "at my desk" at the regional government offices on Saturday.
Alcamo in the sentencing had said Cuffaro would also be prohibited from holding public office during the period over which the sentence ran.
In Italy most court rulings only become effective following two possible stages of appeal. Thursday's sentence against Cuffaro represented the first level of this process.
Cuffaro was ordered to stand trial over three years ago on charges of helping Cosa Nostra by passing on information about police anti- Mafia investigations to a group of "informers" or "moles", including police officers and politicians, who then tipped-off mobsters.
The Palermo court on Thursday also sentenced 11 other defendants in the trial to sentences ranging from 14 years to six months in jail.
The stiffest sentences went to Michele Aiello a private healh service manager who was found guilty of among other charges, working with the Mafia and a Carabinieri police officer Giorgio Riolo who received seven years also on Cosa Nostra-related charges.