Tuesday, 18 February, 2020

Italy's Senate to decide whether to lift Salvini's immunity

Italy's Senate votes to send ex-interior minister Salvini to trial over alleged 'migrant kidnapping' Salvini relishes possible migration 'kidnapping' trial
Deanna Wagner | 14 February, 2020, 10:14

But in order to start a trial, magistrates needed the backing of the senate which, on Wednesday, had to decide whether to allow the criminal case against Salvini to go ahead by lifting his immunity or whether proceedings should be halted.

Italy's former interior minister, Matteo Salvini, was stripped of his parliamentary immunity on Wednesday, allowing magistrates in Sicily to move forward with a case against him, local media reported.

The Senate voted 152-76 in favour of removing the legal protection given to Salvini.

Salvini had refused to allow 116 rescued migrants to leave the Gregoretti coast guard boat - where they had been languishing for about a week in insalubrious conditions - until a deal was reached with other European states to host them.

Salvini, who operated a closed ports policy while interior minister in the last government, sending the League's poll ratings sky-high, faced prosecution before but his parliamentary immunity was never lifted so he could go to trial in previous similar cases. The conviction could also bar him from political office, dashing his ambitions to lead a future government.

"I'll do it again as soon as I get back in government".

Left at sea The Gregoretti in Sicily
Left at sea The Gregoretti in Sicily

Under Italian law, ministers can not be tried for actions taken while in office unless a parliamentary committee gives the go-ahead.

A court in Sicily had earlier said Salvini faces trial for illegally detaining migrants at sea last July.

"I want to be proud of what I did, with my head held high", Salvini told reporters while fellow senators debated his fate.

"I defended Italy". Salvini argued that, as in other such cases, his decision was made with the rest of the government he was then part of.

Rotheram said Salvini's "division and hate" is not welcome in Liverpool following an announcement that Lega nel Mondo, a network established by the League in 2018, would host an event in March of this year. After the tally was announced in the Italian Senate, Salvini compared himself to US President Donald Trump who was also impeached by the Democrats in the House of Representatives but just recently acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate.

As foreign minister, Salvini launched a crackdown on unauthorized migration, something he linked to increased crime. However, the League's coalition partner, 5-Star Movement, forged a new coalition with their Democratic Party (PD) rivals to stay in power. There were subsequently 25 standoffs between rescue vessels and Italian authorities, some of which became the focus of investigations as prosecutors accused Salvini of illegal detention of migrants.

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