Matteo Salvini had this Saturday a double summons in the Sicilian courts to render accounts of his immigration policy when he was Minister of the Interior, a position he held in the first government of Giuseppe Conte between June 2018 and September 2019. The leader of the League He appeared in the bunker classroom in Catania at the second preliminary hearing of the process in which he is accused of kidnapping people, since he prevented the disembarkation of 131 immigrants who were aboard the military ship ‘Gregoretti’ for five days in July 2019 .
Salvini was also summoned in the Palermo court for another similar case, this time with the ship of the Spanish NGO Open Arms as the protagonist, although this hearing had to be postponed to next January 9 due to its coincidence with that of Catania.
“I do not consider that I committed any crime, because I saved lives and defended the Italian national interest,” commented the leader of the League, who at the end of the summer of 2019 withdrew his party from the coalition that supported the first Conte government together to the 5 Star Movement (M5E). That crisis led to the birth of the ‘Conte bis’ Executive, made up of the M5E and the Democratic Party.
Conte declares on January 28
Salvini assured during his appearance in Catania that the decisions he made as Interior Minister were agreed with the members of that Cabinet. The court, in fact, questioned former Transport and Defense Ministers Danilo Toninelli and Elisabetta Trenta, and plans to take a statement from Conte on January 28.
Salvini’s defense presented significant evidence that would show that the leader of the League did not commit abuse of power and acted along the line set by the Government. This is a video recorded at the end of 2019 in which the prime minister acknowledges that, together with the head of the Foreign Affairs portfolio, he was involved in negotiating with other European countries to take over the immigrants before allowing them to the landings occurred.
This way of acting caused that during the period of Salvini as Minister of the Interior foreigners had to wait for days aboard the ships that had rescued them in the central Mediterranean.
Open Arms denounced that those blockades caused desperate situations for immigrants, with even episodes of “self-harm.” After facing abuse during their stay in Libya and risking their lives at sea, they had to be “once again deprived of their freedom and forced to wait in infinite limbo, without being able to understand why,” lamented the Spanish NGO.
After confessing that he was “calm, serene and proud” of his role as minister, Salvini commented in Catania that with him as minister, “the dead, missing and wounded” in the Sicilian Channel were reduced by half while “protecting himself to the country”. “Then there have been more deaths and drowning,” he denounced, lamenting that today it is easier to enter Italy, which requires “the respect of some rules, as in all other countries in the world.”