July 15, 2019
Latest News

Captain of migrant rescue vessel presses charges against Salvini

By Virginia Hebrero

Rome, Jul 12 (efe-epa).- The captain of the migrant rescue vessel Sea Watch 3, Carola Rackete, who is being investigated in Italy after she docked at a port without authorization, pressed charges against Italy’s interior minister on Friday, alleging he had defamed her and endangered her safety.

Rackete's lawyer, Alessandro Gamberini, told Efe the complaint was filed to Rome’s public prosecutor’s office in the morning and that it requested Matteo Salvini’s Facebook and Twitter accounts be seized on grounds that they were used to incite hatred.

The 14-page document accuses the far-right leader of the League party of aggravated defamation and incitement to commit a crime after the 31-year-old German captain received threats on social media for having taken the rescue vessel with 40 migrants on board to the Italian island of Lampedusa on June 29.

The complaint sets out 22 offenses, including content in videos shared on Facebook, on which Salvini maintains an active presence, on Twitter and in television interviews, and claims that the minister’s official pages spread “a message of hate.”

The document alleges Salvini carried out a campaign to discredit Sea-Watch for weeks and that he repeatedly referred to Rackete as operating above the law, being an accomplice to traffickers, a potential murderer, a criminal, a delinquent and a pirate, something she claims put her personal safety at risk and opened her up to possible attacks.

She also denounced sexist slews that appeared on Salvini’s platforms as well as those shouted at her as the migrants finally disembarked the rescue vessel on Lampedusa.

The document also includes a photograph posted by Salvini that shows him with a group of women in uniform and another photo underneath of the young German captioned “a criminal,” something she argued was reminiscent of “wanted” posters urging the public to take action.

Rackete, who became a heroine to some when she defied Salvini’s “closed ports” policy, has defended her actions – taking the boat to Lampedusa with 40 migrants on board, rescued in the Mediterranean Sea 17 days beforehand – which led to her arrest in Italy.

A judge in Sicily ordered her release on grounds that it was her humanitarian obligation to rescue the migrants.

She will still have to appear in court on allegations of involvement in illegal immigration. EFE-EPA


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