The Priest Friend of Laura Boldrini Imprisoned for Drug Dealing


Mussie Zerai, pro-immigrant activist received by the ex-President of the Chamber, has a previous drug conviction. We read the reports of the sentence. Once contacted he refuses to answer and says: “I’m abroad”.

Laura Boldrini’s friend Father Mussie Zerai, was he a drug dealer before he becomes a priest?
Laura Boldrini’s friend Father Mussie Zerai, who is still under investigation by the Italian police for facilitating illegal immigration, was once sentenced to two years of imprisonment related to drug dealing. The question is, was he a drug dealer long before he becomes a priest and later a migrant ‘rescuer’?


When we talk about immigrants arriving in Italy (and the polemics relating) we come across the name of Mussie Zerai. Born in Asmara, Eritrea, in 1975, ‘father Mosè’ is the priest of migrants par excellence. Adored by Laura Boldrini, interviewed and celebrated by half of the world’s newspapers, even nominated for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize.

Zerai founded Habeshia Agency, he wrote books and is very active on media.

In the last days, father Mosé got noticed for his interventions about migrants reaching Italy on board the ship Diciotti. Zerai blamed Matteo Salvini, accusing him of various misdeeds.

“Using these men, women, and children for ‘blackmailing’ the EU is wrong. Politics should not be done on the skin of the most vulnerable”, he said. “The politics of this government”, added Zerai in an interview, “does not facilitate solutions but hits people who has already suffered and is vulnerable”.

Thus, according to him, Salvini and associates are going the wrong way, they are bad boys who aim to gain acceptance taking advantages of poor migrants.

Zerai comes down pretty hard, and recently he had some troubles due to his pro-immigrant interventionism. In August 2017 he was investigated over allegations of aiding and abetting illegal immigration by the public prosecutor in Trapani.

It is well known that his phone number is widely shared by migrants willing to reach Italy, as he claimed many times. Nevertheless, the notification of impending investigation has not prevented him to participate in official ceremonies in Lampedusa and has not diverted him from the practice of propaganda in favour of open borders.

Of course, Zerai is not the only Church member to show this attitude. In his case, the fight pro-migrants is particularly hard. Reading his statements, it looks like Italy must take care of everybody, in particular of Eritrean people. Here the problems begin. Because letting thousands and thousands of people in without being able to manage them means to increase gray areas. In fact, many migrants end up in the murky universe of crime and Zerai should know something about it. Actually, he had himself a little trouble.

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This is the story. It seems that before taking vows and cassock, Mussie Zerai Yosief wound up in jail in Rome, in 1994. He was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment by summary procedure, for possession with intent to distribute 2.2 kilograms of hashish. He was nineteen.

“The matter of drug has never been mentioned in Zerai’s biographies, though he could have played the redemption card taking the cassock”, Fausto Biloslavo remembers on Panorama magazine columns.

La Verità has tried to get to the bottom of this story never told by the priest. Two documents have turned up. The first one is dated May, 6, 1994 and is the record of a hearing which validates the arrest of Zerai Yosef (there appears he was born on February, 26, 1975). The judge of the preliminary inquiries at the Tribunale di Roma (Rome court), Antonio Trivellini, is the same judge who absolved Luca Bianchini in 1997. Some years later, Bianchini was accused to be the serial rapist of Rome, with the allegation of attempted violence against a neighbour. In the procedure, Zerai was defended by Riccardo Fazioli. Even if the advocate did not oppose to the validation of arrest, he demanded for house arrest of his client.

The judge Trivellini, however, reckoned the existence of probable cause, confirmed by drug retrieval and the declarations of a woman who was with Zerai at the point of arrest (and she is not mentioned anymore in the record of the hearing but her name appears in the other document of the inquiry possessed by La Verità).

The judge decided to let Zerai stay behind bars at Regina Coeli. The second document (apparently typed by an electronic typewriter) sums up the sentence outcome. There are impressed the number of the general register of criminal offense notices (Zerai’s file no. 6939/1994) and that one of the GIP (preliminary hearing judge) office register (7307/94). In this case, Zerai’s birth date is June 25, 1975.

The judgment, as acknowledged in the report, became definitive on May 28, 1995. The charge: Mussie Zerai Yosief was accused of “possession with intent of distributing, hashish type” with a woman (probably Eritrean too). The judge Vincenzo Ruotolo found Zerai guilty and, for the choice of summary judgment, condemned him to two years imprisonment and a fine of 10 million liras. Moreover, in the final part of the sentence is reported that once served the sentence, an expulsion order from the Italian territory would be issued. It did not happen and the Eritrean had is second chance.

We have tried to contact father Mosè at the phone number available on his public Facebook page. We asked him to explain this story and to disprove the sources who reported it. The priest picked up only once and when he learned that this 24-year-old story was emerging again, he denied everything, just repeating “No” many times. According to him, none of this is true, but he avoided any specific comment on the documents. Then he made himself unreachable. No answers even though call attempts, texts, and Whatsapp messages.

He reappeared just to liquidate reporters. “I’m abroad”, he wrote in answer to a text. Useless to attempt to get a statement about his past. On that woman who, in front of the judges, accused him. And on those two kilos of hashish to sell. A story still to be told.

It would be enough to explain it fully. This would be useful to understand better the migrant phenomenon and the difficulties migrants face in our country. But, we understand, it is not easy to talk about such things. With a newspaper, it is easier to open the mouth to attack nasty populists.

The Priest Friend of Laura Boldrini Incarcerated for Drug Dealing
* The above story was first published at La Verità by Fabio Amendolara and Francesco Borgonovo. Translated from Italian by Lamina.