Salvini in Italy on Trial over 2019 Migrant Ship

Matteo Salvini (an Italian right-wing former interior Minister) was charged Saturday with kidnapping after refusing to let a Spanish migrant rescue vessel dock in Sicily in 2019. The incident kept the people at sea for several days.

Salvini in Italy on Trial over 2019 Migrant Ship

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 attended the Palermo trial, Sicily's opening day. The trial was to focus mainly on procedural questions. Salvini has maintained that he was performing his duty by refusing entry into the Open Arms rescue vessel and the 147 victims it saved in the Mediterranean Sea off Libya.

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.

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