This is Salvini's first trial for his actions in preventing migrants landings, while he was interior minister between 2018 and 2019. He served this uneasy coalition between his right-wing League and the populist 5-Star Movement.
Salvini attended the Palermo trial, Sicily's opening day, which included procedural questions such as witness lists. Richard Gere, an American actor who saw the migrants' plight on vacation in Italy with his family, was one of those summoned.
It is surreal to be in a trial for doing my job. Salvini stated that she felt sorry for Richard Gere, who will be coming from Hollywood to testify in my case about my career.
Salvini was tough on migrants, blocking ships and pushing Europe to shoulder some of the responsibility for Italy's problems.
Prosecutors have accused Salvini, of dereliction and kidnapping, for refusing to let the ship enter port for several days in August 2019. Some migrants tried to escape the ship, but the captain refused. Some migrants were brought to shore for medical or humanitarian reasons. The remaining 83 were allowed to disembark at Lampedusa.
Oscar Camps, the Spanish NGO Open Arms' head, stated that "We expect justice for all the suffering that all those people endured in those 20 days."
An earlier court in Catania (Sicily) decided to not try Salvini in a related case. Salvini was charged with keeping 116 migrants aboard an Italian coast guard ship at Sea for five days in 2019.