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The Palermo Court of Ministers will prosecute the former Interior Minister for kidnapping people.
Italy’s Senate Thursday voted to allow a trial against the far-right politician Matteo Salvini, who will be prosecuted for not allowing the Open Arms vessel to land immigrants on Italian territory when he was Interior Minister in 2019.
Progressive parties such as the Democratic Party (PD), Free and Equal (LeU), and Italia Viva (IV) supported the Senate's decision. Also, the Five Star Movement (M5S), an anti-system party that takes part in the current government, provided its favorable votes.
In 2019, for 21 days in August, Salvini prevented the Open Arms humanitarian vessel, which had rescued 150 immigrants in the Mediterranean Sea, from docking in Italian territory, citing his ironclad policy of "closed ports".
The Palermo Court of Ministers will prosecute the former Interior Minister for abducting people. The Open Arms founder Oscar Camps highlighted the significance of the decision.
“We have been accused of everything. They called us maritime taxis, human smugglers," Camps said and explained that the European governments are the only ones who "violate international conventions and human rights," as Agenpress reported.
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Camps also highlighted that, although Salvini is no longer in power, Italy has kept its "hard line" against migrants and rescue operations.
"The ports are closed, the coast guard does not neglect the 12 territorial miles, NGOs are criminalized, the pretentious administrative processes... All this makes little sense."
In correspondence with a political career that became relevant based on the rejection of migrants, Salvini closed the ports of his country to humanitarian ships when he was Interior Minister, a position he lost in September 2019.
From the first moment, Salvini vetoed the presence on Italian territory of the Open Arms, an overloaded ship that rejected the Spanish authorities' offer to go to the Algeciras and Mahon ports because the journey was too long and risky.
On August 15, 2019, the Italian Justice responded to a judicial appeal filed by Open Arms and allowed this boat to approach the Lampedusa island to protect itself from bad weather. Five days later, the Prosecutor's Office allowed the immigrants to disembark on Italian soil.