Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

Italy Senate Votes on Migrant Trial for Far-Right Leader Salvini

Italy Senate Votes on Migrant Trial for  Far-Right Leader Salvini

ROME - Italian senators will decide on Wednesday whether far-right leader Matteo Salvini should face trial on charges of illegally detaining migrants at sea last year, for which he could be jailed for up to 15 years.
A court in Sicily has recommended that former Minister of the Interior Salvini stand trial for blocking migrants on a coastguard boat last July.
Under Italian law, ministers cannot be tried for actions taken while in office unless a parliamentary committee gives the go-ahead.
A simple majority of 319 senators is required, with the result of the vote expected at about 18:00 GMT, if not earlier.
Salvini had refused to allow 116 rescued migrants off of the Gregoretti coastguard boat - where they had been languishing for about a week in difficult conditions - until a deal was reached with other European states to host them.
A Catania court accused him of "abuse of power" in blocking them on board from July 27-31, 2019, and of illegally detaining them.
Salvini insists the decision was not his alone but had the backing of the government and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
Prosecutors in Sicily opened a probe into conditions on board the boat, where the many migrants shared one toilet.
The Gregoretti on July 25 took on board 140 migrants who were rescued trying to make the perilous crossing from war-torn Libya to Europe - the same day that 110 migrants drowned off the Libyan coast.
Some migrants in need of urgent medical care were taken from the coastguard vessel but 116 of them remained trapped on board for almost a week.
Under Italy's constitution, Parliament can block legal proceedings if legislators feel the minister was performing his job and in the national interest. (Aljazeera)