Richard Gere will testify in Palermo against the former Italian Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini. Salvini is on trial for refusing a refugee ship in an Italian port.
The NGO Open Arms succeeded in having the American actor Richard Gere testify against the former Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini. The prosecution did not feel like show business in the courtroom, the judge in Palermo decided otherwise.
Former minister Salvini is on trial for refusing the Open Arms ship carrying 147 migrants, including many minors, from North Africa. Due to the minister’s refusal, the Spanish NGO’s ship camped in front of the port of Lampedusa for more than a week in the summer of 2019. The former minister is charged with multiple hostage-taking by the public prosecutor from Palermo.
Richard Gere was on the refugee ship at the time and can therefore testify according to the court. It is not yet known when he will come to Palermo.
In addition to the American actor, former Prime Minister Conte, current Home Secretary Lamorgese and Secretary of State Di Maio will also be called as witnesses. Salvini’s defense claims that the decision not to allow the ship to enter the port of Lampedusa was not solely up to the minister himself, but was a matter of government policy. The former minister himself claims to have done so “to protect Italy”.
In a similar case in Catania, on the other side of Sicily, the former minister was recently acquitted.
The next hearing in the Open Arms case will be on December 17.
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