Judgment of no place to proceed because the fact does not exist. No trial in Catania for Matteo Salvini, this is the decision of the gup of Catania, Nunzio Sarpietro, after today’s council chamber, in the city of Etna. For Salvini, at the time of the facts Minister of the Interior, the accusation was that of having kept, in July 2019, for several days, 131 migrants on board the ship of the Coast Guard ‘Gregoretti’. For the leader of the League, therefore, the Palermo trial remains in place in Sicily, where he is accused of the same crime – that of kidnapping – against 147 migrants who remained for days on the Open Arms ship. Read also Going back to the Catania affair, to the Gregoretti case, in the last hearing, the prosecutor Andrea Bonomo asked not to proceed with Salvini. Because, according to the indictment, keeping migrants on board for 5 days “was not an illegitimate act”. Not only. According to the prosecutor, “the judgment is not on the appropriateness of that act” also because the possible deprivation of liberty has also continued in the hotspot of Pozzallo. Salvini “did not violate any of the international conventions” and his choices were “shared by the government”. His position “does not integrate the details of the crime of kidnapping” because “the fact does not exist”, explained the magistrate in asking for Salvini not to proceed. And lawyer Bongiorno, in his speech, recalled the he government action of Conte 1 and Conte 2, “to demonstrate how Salvini’s was an expression of the government’s political line, in the primary national interest”. According to the defense, what Salvini was doing “was the political orientation of the government” which decided collectively on the basis of agreements at the European level, thus complaining that in the courtroom there is only Salvini “and not other ministers” to defend himself. “The criminal action did not even have to begin because it was an unquestionable political act”. Also in the last hearing, Salvini’s defense presented a memory over 50 pages long “to dismantle the accusation of multiple kidnapping” which could cost him up to fifteen years in prison, in addition to some attachments including the close correspondence, starting from 26 July 2019, between the Presidency of the Council, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission and various EU countries for relocation, “demonstrating that the agreement was essential to allow the landing “. For defense”, the wait was necessary to agree on the redistribution in other European countries, with the full involvement of the Italian government “. Salvini cited “for their clarity” the statements of the Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who on 28 December 2019, on the occasion of the press conference at the end of the year, said: “with regard to relocations we always have at the level of the Presidency, also with the help of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we worked to relocate and then allow the disembarkation “. Salvini, in his memory, then spoke of an “anomalous discovery of a device that led to the belief that there were smugglers on board.” The reference is to “a GPS, hidden in a backpack, probably used for orientation purposes at sea “. The judge for the preliminary investigations, Salvini then also recalled the interceptions of Luca Palamara with another magistrate like Paolo Auriemma.” The former member of the CSM said, referring to the former Minister of the Interior, “now we must attack him “”, Reads the memoir. Salvini closed the 51 pages thus: “I conclude by recalling the words with which I assumed the post of Minister of the Interior: I swore to be faithful to the Republic, to loyally observe the Constitution and laws and to exercise my functions in the exclusive interest of the Nation. It is with this spirit that I have always acted as Minister of the Interior, respecting my duties and the will of the sovereign people. “The Northern League leader arrived before Gup Sarpietro after the request for judgment made by the Court of Ministers of Catania, request which got the go-ahead from the Senate on February 12 a year ago. The accusation was that of having “abused his powers by depriving of personal freedom 131 migrants aboard the Gregoretti naval unit of the Italian Coast Guard from 00.35 of 27 July 2019 until the afternoon of July 31 “, when the authorization to disembark in the port of Augusta was arranged, as part of an agreement for the distribution of migrants in five other EU countries. On the Gregoretti case, the Etna prosecutor, led by Carmelo Zuccaro, had already ruled for the non-place to proceed, believing that “the 3-day wait for a landing” cannot “be considered an unlawful deprivation of liberty” of the migrants on board In addition, for the investigators on the ship “medical assistance, food and basic necessities” and “the immediate disembarkation of the sick and minors” were guaranteed, as confirmed by Salvini himself in his defensive brief, filed in Catania at the first hearing . On the contrary, the Court of Ministers, asking instead for a trial, stressed that Salvini was responsible for having “consciously determined the illegitimate deprivation of personal freedom” of the migrants, “forced to remain in critical psychophysical conditions” on board. The three judges for ministerial crimes also argued that “there were no technical reasons impeding the authorization to disembark”, adding that “the rescued people could be promptly disembarked and sent to the first reception hot spot for identification, except then be sorted according to the agreements eventually reached at the European level “. Agreements at the EU level on which Salvini’s defense also insists, with concepts reaffirmed in the defensive memory, in what seems to be one of the dirimental knots of the affair. Faced with a political strategy, desired by Salvini (and by the government of the time), with the aim of pushing the EU countries to intervene for the relocation of migrants, the act of keeping them at sea, according to Salvini himself, was exclusively aimed to the political result. To the point of saying that “staying on board” was “functional only to allow the conclusion of the redistribution procedure” of migrants in Europe. “All the people on board the ship were guaranteed adequate care and assistance for the specific case, as well as a continuous monitoring of health conditions”, the former owner of the Interior Ministry has always remembered. After today’s no to the trial in Catania, Salvini will have to appear as a defendant in Palermo, from 15 September, for kidnapping of 147 migrants who remained for days on the Open Arms ship. (by Elvira Terranova and Francesco Saita)
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