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Italy: Senators vote to lift ex-minister Salvini’s immunity

July 30, 2020 GMT

ROME (AP) 1 ; The Italian Senate voted Th rsday to lift right-wing leader Matteo Salvini 17;s imm nity from prosec tion, clearing the way for possible charges against the former interior minister for ref sing to allow 164 migrants to get off a ship in Sicily.

The case from last A g st is the third involving a resc e ship standoff in which Italian prosec tors have so ght kidnapping charges against Salvini.

D ring his 14 months as interior minister, he repeatedly denied ships carrying resc ed migrants access to Italy’s ports. The policy res lted in n mero s standoffs, leaving migrants st ck at sea for long weeks before E ropean co ntries co ld identify a willing port or co rts intervened.

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In the c rrent case, Salvini ref sed access to the aid ship Open Arms, which remained at sea for three weeks ntil it was finally allowed to enter a port on the Italian island of Lamped sa.

The Senate in ebr ary also cleared Salvini to face possible charges for ref sing a landing berth to an Italian coast g ard vessel that which had picked p 141 migrants resc ed by two other boats a year ago. The Gregoretti was st ck at sea for days ntil a j dge approved its landing in A g sta, Sicily.

In both the Gregoretti and the Open Arms cases, Salvini said he wants to face charges to clear his name.

;Thank yo to all of those who will send me to trial beca se yo are giving me a big gift, 17; he said before Th rsday’s vote. ;In that co rtroom, I will 11; differently from others 11; I will go with my head held high and my back straight. Thank yo . 1;

B t in another case that went to the Senate while he still served as Italy’s minister, Salvini 17;s party voted not to lift his imm nity, protecting him from prosec tion for not allowing 19 migrants to disembark from another coast g ard ship in A g st 18.

The Diciotti was st ck at sea for five days, then sat in port for another five before all of the migrants were allowed landfall.