Article image Italy Senate paves way for Salvini migrant trial

It is the second time Salvini has lost parliamentary immunity over a migration charge this year

It means Salvini could now face a trial for allegedly illegally detaining migrants at sea. "I am proud of it, I would do it again, and I will do it again", he stated on Wednesday.

Prosecutors in Sicily implicate Mr Salvini of prohibited detention, which might bring a prison regard to up to 15 years.

Mr Salvini has insisted the decision to stop the migrants from getting off the ship until a deal was brokered with European Union countries to take them in was reached collectively within the government. His League party was in a coalition with the anti-establishment Five Star, but now he is an opposition MP.

It is concerning a situation previous year after he refused to allow a rescue boat carrying dozens of migrants dock on the island of Lampedusa.

The authorisation to proceed with the case was approved on 30 July by the senate which voted 149 to 141 to strip Salvini of his parliamentary immunity, paving the way for prosecution.

That's the same defence Salvini is using in another similar trial, in which he is accused of blocking migrants from disembarking from the Italian "Gregoretti" coast guard boat last July.

Matteo Salvini himself has assured supporters that a year ago was defending Italy and will not hesitate to do it again.

The opening court hearing because case has actually been delayed up until 3 October since of coronavirus limitations.

Thursday's vote may clear the way for potential charges against the former interior minister who, during his 14 months in that position, repeatedly denied port entry to ships carrying rescued migrants at sea.

Political analyst Franco Pavoncello said a go-ahead from the Senate on the Open Arms trial would "certainly have an impact on Salvini", whose popularity has dropped since the coronavirus pandemic swept through Italy.

His League party is still the most popular in Italy despite a recent slump in the polls.

"In that courtroom, I will - differently from others - I will go with my head held high and my back straight".

A Demopolis survey this week showed League on 25.4 percent and the centre-left Democratic Party on 21 percent.

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