ROME, Feb. 17 (EUROPE PRESS) –
The former Italian Interior Minister and leader of the ultra-right League party, Matteo Salvini, has presented a defense brief in the context of the kidnapping accusation in which he argues the “absolute lack of obligation of Italy” to give safe harbor to the 'Open Arms' in August 2019.
“The safe harbor was in Spain or Malta and certainly not in Italy,” argues Salvini, who accuses the ship's captain of deliberately rejecting the port indicated later by Madrid, wasting precious time with the sole purpose of disembarking immigrants in Sicily.
Salvini recalls that the first countries to which the 'Open Arms' reported after rescue operations were Spain, the ship's flag country, and Malta, the closest to the rescue site. “Italy had no competition or obligation with respect to all the bailouts carried out by the Spanish ship 'Open Arms', since they occurred completely outside its assigned” rescue areas, he has argued.
Salvini, then Interior Minister, signed a decree on August 1 prohibiting the entry of rescue vessels into Italian waters without authorization. Despite this, the 'Open Arms' entered Italian waters and landed the 69 migrants that had rescued.
Now Salvini is accused of kidnapping for ordering at first to prevent the disembarkation of passengers from the ship and even the Senate has approved to strip him of his immunity so he can be prosecuted.