Senate refuses to lift Salvini's immunity in migrant case


MILAN (AP) — Italy’s Senate refused Wednesday to lift Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s immunity to face possible charges for refusing to allow migrants aboard an Italian coast guard ship to disembark at a Sicilian port.

A judicial commission in Sicily triggered the vote when it rejected prosecutors’ decision not to pursue kidnapping charges against Salvini for refusing to allow 177 migrants to disembark from the Diciotti last August.

Salvini, in an emotional defense, said his refusal was aimed at forcing Italy’s European partners to share the burden of migrant arrivals, which has disproportionately fallen on Italy as a primary destination for humanitarian ships rescuing migrants from smugglers’ boats off Libya. Within days of the Diciotti’s arrival in Catania, other European countries stepped forward to accept the migrants.

Salvini said his job was to defend Italy’s borders.

“I will never be the minister who allows a single person to die in the Mediterranean Sea without lifting a finger,” he said.

Biden Drops to All-Time Low Approval Rating - Prominent Pollster Suggests Dropout 'Threshold' May Have Been Hit

Salvini has been widely criticized for his policy of not allowing humanitarian rescue boats to make port in Italy. That’s provoked repeated standoffs with other European countries while migrants remain at sea. In the most recent case, an Italian-flagged rescue ship carrying nearly 50 migrants was allowed to make port in Lampedusa and disembark its passengers only after prosecutors ordered it seized.

In the Diciotti case, the migrants were aboard an Italian coast guard vessel that had accepted the migrants at sea from humanitarian vessels. Salvini argues that the presence of the rescue ships off Libya encourages smugglers to attempt the dangerous journey in unseaworthy boats as they expect to be intercepted.

Reacting to the Senate decision, Salvini said “this morning I was busy trying to avoid 15 years in jail. I don’t feel like I am a kidnapper.”

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City