Former Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has to answer before a court in Palermo this Saturday. The charge is deprivation of liberty and abuse of office.
In the summer of 2019, Salvini is said to have prevented a ship belonging to the Spanish aid organization Proactiva Open Arms with 147 refugees on board from entering a port.
Before going to court, which meets in the bunker of a prison, said the 48-year-old. he acted in the interests of the government at the time: “Defending the borders, the security, the honor and the dignity of a country is a duty, and not that of a minister, but that of everyone, as it is in our constitution. To come to justice because I have done my duty is surreal. Richard Gere will come. Tell me how serious is a lawsuit where Richard Gere comes from Hollywood to testify my wickedness. “
Salvini argued that the Open Arms could also have called a port in Spain, Malta or Tunisia.
“Human Rights Before Politics”
Open Arms director and founder Oscar Camps argues that rescuing people in international waters is not a political issue but a human rights issue. Camps said immediately before the trial began: “Saving people in the sea is not a crime, but an obligation not only for the captain, but also for all states.”
Salvini argued that the Open Arms could also have called a port in Spain, Malta or Tunisia. At that time, the Open Arms was only allowed to put on after the intervention of the Italian public prosecutor’s office.
Richard Gere had helped bring supplies to the Open Arms at the time. In the course of the proceedings, Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese and Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio will be heard alongside the Hollywood actor. Lamorgese was then government advisor, Di Maio Minister for Labor and Social Policy.