Italy’s Far-Right Matteo Salvini Accused Of Crimes Against Migrants


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Rabat – Mateo Salvini, leader of Italy’s far-right will stand trial in September on charges of kidnapping for preventing refugees access to the country. Salvini in 2019 served as interior minister and deputy prime minister when he prevented more than a hundred refugees on board of a rescue ship from entering Italy.

On Saturday, April 17, Judge Lorenzo Iannelli ordered Salvini to stand trial for his role in blocking access to Italy when the ship carrying refugees attempted to gain access to the country, in compliance with international human rights conventions. 

According to international human rights conventions all humans have the right to claim asylum and flee violence, deprivation, and oppression in their home country.

Salvini allegedly violated these fundamental human rights, amounting to charges of kidnapping. Italy’s well-known far-right leader will now stand trial when the case is adjudicated in a Palermo court on September 15.

The NGO that operated the vessel that was obstructed by Salvini’s decision welcomed the case as an opportunity to reflect on the inhumane “pushback” practices applied to block refugees access to Europe. The founder of Proactiva Open Arms, the NGO in question, drew attention to the violations of internal law that European countries commonly engage in. 

Oscar Camps, founder of Proactiva Open Arms, described the trial as “an opportunity to judge a period of European history” in a statement to Al Jazeera. 

Salvini’s decision amounts to dereliction of duty and kidnapping according to prosecutors of the Italian court system. The far-right leader’s actions amounted to political grandstanding that violated the fundamental rights of the refugees that were seeking refuge in the southern EU country.

Salvini’s kidnapping charges revolve around the deprivation of the refugees’ freedom by forcing them to stay on board the vessel as it was anchored on the island of Lampedusa. Salvini’s lawyer Giulia Bongiorno told the press in Italy that she expects her client to walk free, saying the refugees had “100,000 options,” to find another port.