Senate to examine court request to put Salvini on trial

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Rome, Jan 26 (IANS/AKI) A committee of the Italy’s upper house of parliament will consider a request by a special court in Sicily to begin legal action against far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini in a migrant standoff case

The Senate’s electoral affairs and parliamentary immunity committee will on January 30 consider if the Catania Court of Ministers request to put Salvini on trial for kidnapping the 177 migrants who were stranded in the Mediterranean aboard Italian coastguard ship Diciotti from August 15 to 25.

If the committee decides in favour of the Catania court, its request will be put to a vote by the 315-member Senate.

Salvini on Wednesday stated he was “ready” to stand trial in the case.

“Who am I am to refuse to be tried? I am ready,” he told the media here.

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The Minister is accused of kidnapping, abuse of office and flouting sea rescue rules.

The standoff came to an end when Italy’s Catholic Church, Ireland and Albania agreed to shelter most of the migrants.

Salvini, who is also deputy premier, said he did not fear going to jail in the case.

He admitted having kidnapped the migrants “protect my country’s borders and to keep Italians safe”, and said he would so again in future.

For the first five days of the August standoff which caused international outrage there were 190 migrants on board the Diciotti, but 13 were then allowed ashore on Lampedusa on medical grounds.

When he took office last June, Salvini closed the country’s ports to migrant rescue ships, vowed no more migrants would land and pledged to deport half a million illegal immigrants to Italy, where over 700,000 people have arrived since 2014.

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–IANS/AKI

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