Trial against Italian Salvini opens for stranded migrant boat – The Journal

Former right-wing Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini has been tried on kidnapping for refusing in 2019 to allow a Spanish migrant rescue ship to dock in Sicily, keeping people on board at sea for days

MILAN (AP) – Former right-wing Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini was tried on Saturday on kidnapping charges for refusing in 2019 to allow a Spanish migrant rescue ship to dock in Sicily, keeping people in seaside for days.

This is the first trial to take place against Salvini for his actions preventing the disembarkations of migrants while he was Interior Minister from 2018-2019 in a difficult coalition between the 5-star populist movement and his right-wing League.

Salvini was present for the opening day of the trial in Palermo, Sicily, which was to deal mainly with procedural requests. He insisted he was fulfilling his duty by denying entry to the Open Arms rescue ship and the 147 people he had rescued in the Mediterranean off Libya.

Salvini has taken a hard line on migrant arrivals, blocking ships and pushing Europe to ease some of the burden on Italy.

Prosecutors charge Salvini with dereliction of duty and kidnapping for refusing to allow the ship to enter the port for days in August 2019. During the nearly three-week standoff, some migrants threw themselves by aboard in desperation and the captain pleaded for a safe and close port. Some migrants were taken ashore for humanitarian or health reasons, while the remaining 83 were eventually allowed to disembark at Lampedusa.

“We are waiting for justice for the unnecessary suffering that everyone has suffered during these 20 days,” said the head of the Spanish NGO Open Arms, Oscar Camps.

A court in Catania, Sicily, ruled earlier this year not to try Salvini in a similar case, for keeping 116 migrants on an Italian coastguard ship at sea for five days, also in 2019.

Protesters hold up a sign reading “Mr. Salvini is this how you save innocent lives?” »While they organize a demonstration in front of the court of Palermo where the trial of the former interior minister Matteo Salvini began in Palermo, on Saturday October 23, 2021. Salvini is accused of having kidnapped more than a hundred migrants and keeping them for weeks on board the small Open Arms rescue boat off the coast of Lampedusa, after refusing to let it dock in an Italian port in 2019 (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

Former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini arrives at the Palermo court to attend a trial, in Palermo, on Saturday, October 23, 2021. Salvini is accused of kidnapping more than a hundred migrants and keeping them for weeks aboard the small Open Arms rescue boat off the coast of Lampedusa, after refusing to let it dock in an Italian port in 2019 (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

Open Arms founder Oscar Camps speaks to the media as he arrives at the Palermo courtroom where a trial is taking place against former Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, accused of kidnapping of migrants, Saturday 23 October 2021. Salvini is accused of kidnapping more than a hundred migrants and keeping them for weeks on board the small Open Arms lifeboat off the coast of Lampedusa, after refusing to let it dock in an Italian port in 2019 (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

Open Arms founder Oscar Camps speaks to the media as he arrives at the Palermo courtroom where a trial is taking place against former Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, accused of kidnapping of migrants, Saturday 23 October 2021. Salvini is accused of kidnapping more than a hundred migrants and keeping them for weeks on board the small Open Arms lifeboat off the coast of Lampedusa, after refusing to let it dock in an Italian port in 2019 (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

Demonstrators organize a demonstration in front of the Palermo court where the trial of former interior minister Matteo Salvini began in Palermo on Saturday, October 23, 2021. Salvini is accused of kidnapping more than a hundred migrants and for having kept them for weeks on board the small Open Arms Rescue Boat off the coast of Lampedusa, after refusing to let it dock in an Italian port, in 2019 (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

Former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, right, arrives at Palermo court to attend a trial, in Palermo, on Saturday, October 23, 2021. Salvini is accused of kidnapping more than a hundred migrants and keeping them for weeks on board the small Open Weapons Rescue Boat off the coast of Lampedusa, after refusing to let it dock in an Italian port, in 2019 (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

The lawyer of the former Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini, Giulia Bongiorno, arrives at the Palermo court to attend a trial, in Palermo, on Saturday, October 23, 2021. Salvini is accused of having kidnapped more than a hundred migrants and keeping them for weeks on board the small Open Arms Rescue Boat off the coast of Lampedusa, after refusing to let it dock in an Italian port in 2019 (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

Open Arms founder Oscar Camps speaks to the media as he arrives at the Palermo courtroom where a trial is taking place against former Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, accused of kidnapping of migrants, Saturday 23 October 2021. Salvini is accused of kidnapping more than a hundred migrants and keeping them for weeks on board the small Open Arms lifeboat off the coast of Lampedusa, after refusing to let it dock in an Italian port in 2019 (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)


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