Italy Senate to vote on Salvini migrant trial immunity

Cheryl Sanders
July 31, 2020

For the case from last August, Salvini refused access to the rescue ship Open Arms for three weeks before it was allowed to enter a port on the Italian island of Lampedusa. The rescue vessel was marooned at sea for almost three weeks with more than 150 migrants on board.

Magistrates in Sicily want to try Salvini for alleged abuse of office and illegally detaining the migrants, saying he acted independently of the government. His League celebration remained in a union with the anti-establishment Five Star, and now he is an opposition MP.

"I am proud to have defended Italy".

The Senate voted 149 to 141 to strip him of his parliamentary immunity, paving the way for prosecution.

The anti-immigration, conservative political leader is now set to stand trial in a comparable case.

Political analyst Franco Pavoncello said the Senate's go-ahead on the Open Arms trial would "certainly have an impact on Salvini", whose popularity has dropped since the coronavirus pandemic swept through Italy.

In February, the Senate voted to strip Salvini of his parliamentary immunity in that case.

"That is the same defence Salvini is utilizing in another similar trial, where he's accused of preventing migrants from disembarking in the Italian" Gregoretti" coast guard boat last July.

As interior minister for 14 months, Salvini took a hard line against charity ships that rescued migrants at sea, accusing them of de facto collaboration with human traffickers.

All the parties in the ruling coalition government backed the lifting of My Salvini's immunity.

Mr Salvini tweeted defiantly on Thursday: "By sending me for trial they're giving me a big gift, but unlike the others I'm going there with my head held high and my back straight".

Although the anti-migrant League may be slipping down the polls, it is still the most popular party in Italy and its leader expects to do well at the next elections.

A Demopolis poll found that the Lega Nord has seen a decline of 11 points this year, from holding a voter intention of 37%, down to 25.4% in recent polling.

The populist leader has built his reputation by posing for selfies with supports, a move that has endeared him to many Italians.

Other reports by iNewsToday