Former Italian inside minister Matteo Salvini has been ordered to face trial for leaving a Spanish migrant rescue ship stranded at sea for greater than two weeks in August 2019.
At a court docket listening to in Sicily, Decide Lorenzo Ianelli set September 15, 2021 because the trial date. Palermo prosecutors have accused Salvini of dereliction of responsibility and kidnapping for having refused to permit the Open Arms ship and its 147 rescued passengers to dock in Italy for 19 days.
Throughout the standoff, a few of the migrants threw themselves overboard in desperation because the captain pleaded for a secure, shut port. The remaining 89 individuals onboard have been lastly permitted to disembark in Lampedusa by a court docket order on August 20.
Salvini, who attended the listening to in Palermo, confirmed the end result and insisted that he was solely doing his job.
Citing the Italian Structure, Salvini went on to tweet that defending the nation was the “sacred responsibility” of each Italian. “I am occurring trial for this, for having defended my nation?” he tweeted. “I will go together with my head held excessive, additionally in your identify.”
Salvini maintained a tough line on migration in his tenure as inside minister within the first authorities of Premier Giuseppe Conte, from 2018-2019.
Whereas demanding that European Union nations do extra to soak up migrants and asylum seekers arriving in Italy, Salvini had concurrently argued that humanitarian rescue ships have been solely encouraging Libyan-based traffickers – and that his coverage really saved lives by discouraging dangerous journeys throughout the Mediterranean.
His lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno, stated she felt calm regardless of the choice, saying she was sure the court docket would decide there was no kidnapping concerned.
“There was no limitation on their freedom,” she instructed reporters after the indictment was handed down. “The ship had the opportunity of going wherever. There was only a prohibition of going into port. However it had 100 thousand choices.”
Open Arms, for its half, hailed the choice to place Salvini on trial. The non-governmental organisation tweeted: “We’re blissful for all of the individuals we’ve saved thus far within the sea of disgrace.”
Salvini can also be underneath investigation for one more, comparable incident involving the Italian coast guard ship Gregoretti, which Salvini he refused to permit to dock in the summertime of 2019.
Prosecutor Andrea Bonomo really helpful at a preliminary listening to in Catania final week that Salvini not stand trial in reference to that case, arguing that he was finishing up authorities coverage when he saved the 116 migrants at sea for 5 days.