Preliminary hearing for Salvini in case of kidnapping on migrants ship docking delays

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Italy’s League Party leader and former Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini (L) sits inside the bunker hall room of the Bicocca prison during a preliminary hearing on the Gregoretti case, in Catania, Italy, 10 April 2021.

Salvini is accused of kidnapping after he delayed the disembarkation of 131 migrants on Italian shores in July 2019.

Italy’s League Party leader and former Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini (L) sits inside the bunker hall room of the Bicocca prison during a preliminary hearing on the Gregoretti case, in Catania. EPA-EFE/ORIETTA SCARDINO

During his 14 months as interior minister, Salvini curbed migrant arrivals and hampered the activities of rescue ships, threatening the charities operating them with fines and trying to force other European states to take the migrants in.

Two weeks before he abandoned a coalition with the 5-Star Movement, he refused to let migrants disembark from the Gregoretti coastguard vessel, ignoring pleas from human rights groups to let the group come ashore.

Magistrates in Sicily believe it was an abuse of power that amounted to de facto kidnapping.

Main Photo: Italy’s League Party leader and former Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini (C), flanked by his lawyer Giulia Bongiorno (L), arrives at the bunker hall room of the Bicocca prison for a preliminary hearing on the Gregoretti case, in Catania, Italy, 10 April 2021. EPA-EFE/ORIETTA SCARDINO