Foreign Affairs
Matteo Salvini to be put on trial for stopping migrants from disembarking in Italy

The Italian Senate has voted in favour of prosecuting former Home Affairs Minister Matteo Salvini for blocking a vessel with migrants off the Italian coast in August last year.

Over 100 migrants had spent 19 days at sea off the island of Lampedusa on the Spanish vessel Open Arms.

Prosecutors in Sicily are charging Salvini with illegal detention – a charge which carries a maximum 15-year sentence.

Salvini, who is against migration, is already to undergo trial by jury on a similar case.

The Senate voted with 149 votes in favour and 141 votes against, to lift Salvini’s Parliamentary immunity, and he is now expected to face legal proceedings.

The 47-year-old former Minister says it had been the Italian Government’s policy to stop irregular migrants from disembarking in Italy.

“It is not a crime to defend Italy. I am proud to have done so, and I will do it again,” Salvini insisted.