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World Italy's Salvini on trial for blocking migrant boat

18:21  23 october  2021
18:21  23 october  2021 Source:   bbc.com

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  Rome trial opens for 4 members of Egyptian security forces ROME (AP) — The trial of four high-ranking members of Egypt’s security forces started Thursday without the Egyptians on hand to face charges they were involved in the abduction, torture and killing in Cairo of an Italian doctoral student. Giulio Regeni’s parents and sister walked into the Rome courthouse without making a statement. The Italian government announced on the eve of the trial that it would join the trial's civil portion as an injuredGiulio Regeni’s parents and sister walked into the Rome courthouse without making a statement. The Italian government announced on the eve of the trial that it would join the trial's civil portion as an injured party in the case.

Italian ex-interior minister Matteo Salvini has gone on trial in Sicily, accused of preventing a migrant boat from docking in August 2019.

Mr Salvini said he was defending the government's policy to protect Italy © Reuters Mr Salvini said he was defending the government's policy to protect Italy

The right-wing politician denies kidnap and dereliction of duty charges.

Prosecution witnesses include Hollywood actor Richard Gere, who was on board.

Mr Salvini closed ports to rescue boats, leaving dozens of migrants saved from the Mediterranean stranded aboard a Spanish rescue vessel for three weeks in deteriorating conditions.

He faces a maximum of 15 years in jail if convicted.

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On the opening day of the trial, the judge allowed all witnesses submitted by both sides to testify. They also include former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and members of his cabinet.

But the defendant mocked Mr Gere's presence.

"I wonder if it's serious that Richard Gere of Hollywood is going to testify about my behaviour at a trial," he told journalists outside the court.

Mr Gere had boarded the Spanish ship the Open Arms before it docked after 19 days at sea on the island of Lampedusa with nearly 150 migrants on board.

Mr Salvini said he was defending his government's "closed ports" policy aimed at stopping migrants from making the dangerous Mediterranean crossing.

The migrant ship was not allowed to dock in Lampedusa © AFP The migrant ship was not allowed to dock in Lampedusa

But his blockade of the ship caused an outcry and a serious split in the coalition government at the time. His League party was in a coalition with the anti-establishment Five Star, but now he is an opposition MP.

Killing spree triggers fear, memory of dark past in Kashmir

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  • Italy's Salvini in row with PM over migrant ship
  • Italy shuts Europe's one-time largest migrant camp

In July last year, the Senate voted to strip him of his parliamentary immunity.

Mr Conte had called Mr Salvini "obsessed" with keeping migrants out of Italian ports.

In 2019 the Open Arms charity filed a legal complaint against Mr Salvini's block on their ship, which ended on 20 August.

By that time, many of the migrants had already been allowed off the ship.

The charity's founder Oscar Camps told reporters outside the trial on Saturday that saving lives should not be politicised.

"Rescuing people in the sea is no crime, it's an obligation not only for the captain but also for all states," he said.

The court adjourned after several hours. A further hearing has been scheduled for 17 December.

5 deaths with a connection to S.C. attorney's family investigated .
A young woman dead in a boating crash, a mother and her son killed in a double homicide, and two other mysterious deaths – all with a connection to one family.It's a series of cases that the locals have dubbed "The Murdaugh Mysteries" — all somehow with a connection to a prominent and powerful local attorney: No plea.

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This is interesting!