The leader of Italy’s right-wing League party, and proud nationalist Matteo Salvini, has asked to be put on trial over his handling of migrants at sea last year when he was interior minister in the previous government.
Salvini refused to let 131 migrants rescued at sea disembark from a coastguard vessel until other EU states agreed to take them in, which was his right to do, but that is still disputable. Since Salvini has denounced moves to put him on trial over the incident last July. A special Senate committee is due to vote today on whether to accept a request by a special tribunal to put him on trial, a step that is required by law in cases involving former ministers.
Currently campaigning for a upcoming election, Salvini used the incident to attack the ruling coalition, saying he is being targeted for doing his duty as a minister to protect the country. “I say this to those senators who have to decide whether to send me to trial or not, I ask you formally, send me to trial, send me to trial because the Italian people will be on trial with me,” Salvini told at a rally in Maranello. “
“If I have to go to jail for defending an idea, I’ll go with my head held high ,” said Salvini. After he quit the government last year, Salvini pledged to stop migrant boats arriving from Libya by making it more difficult for them to dock in Italian ports.
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