Salvini to go on trial – Italian Senate vote to lift his immunity

epa08212988 Lega leader Matteo Salvini speaks during the debate on the Gregoretti case in the Hall of Palazzo Madama, Senate of the Republic, Rome, Italy, 12 February 2020. League leader Matteo Salvini said his conscience was clear on Wednesday ahead of a vote in the Senate on whether prosecutors should be able to proceed against him for allegedly illegally detaining a group of migrant when he was interior minister in a previous government. EPA-EFE/Riccardo Antimiani

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The Senate on Wednesday voted to allow prosecutors to proceed against League leader Matteo Salvini for allegedly illegally detaining a group of migrants when he was interior minister in a previous government.

The case regards Salvini’s decision to not allow more than 100 rescued migrants to disembark from the Gregoretti Coast Guard ship for several days during a long standoff in July.

The Senate’s immunity panel had already given the OK for the Catania court of ministers’ request to parliament to proceed against Salvini for allegedly abusing his power and the floor of the Upper House has now ratified the decision to lift Salvini’s parliamentary immunity.

Politico reports “

In July 2019, an Italian coast guard ship rescued more than 100 people trying to make the perilous crossing from Libya to Italy. They were stranded aboard the ship for almost a week as Salvini refused to let them disembark, demanding that other EU countries take them in. Magistrates say that this amounts to abuse of power and de facto kidnapping.

Salvini reacted defiantly to the Senate vote on Wednesday. He thanked his supporters via Twitter, saying that “defending my home country was not my right, it was my duty.”

Speaking to journalists after Wednesday’s decision, he said: “I take what I did as source of pride and certainly not as crime.”

Magistrates have yet to make a formal decision about whether to send Salvini to trial.”

Developing Story via ANSA

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