Rome, Feb 22 (IANS/AKI) A group of 41 migrants allegedly plans to sue Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte over a case in which 177 migrants were held on an Italian coastguard ship off Sicily for ten days in August and only allowed ashore when other nations agreed to take them.
The migrants, who were all stranded aboard the Umberto Diciotti in conditions that observers described as “dire”, will ask for damages from Salvini for deprivation of personal liberty, and include a couple whose son is a minor, Interior Ministry sources said.
The migrants, who have also appealed to European Court of Human Rights over their plight, are said to be seeking damages of between 42,000 euros and 71,000 euros.
The Italian Senate is due to vote by late March on whether to accept a request from a special court in Sicily to allow Salvini to stand trial on kidnapping and other charges in the so-called ‘Diciotti’ case.
If the Senate agrees to lift Salvini’s immunity and he is prosecuted, he could jailed for between three and fifteen years.
In Strasbourg, lawyers from the Baobab Experience rights association lodged the migrants’ appeal.