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Put me on trial, says defiant Salvini

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Put me on trial, says defiant Salvini

Put me on trial, says defiant Salvini

Italy's former Deputy and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, a powerful right wing figure, is saying that any effort to prosecute him over his past refusal to allow a migrant rescue vessel to dock is scapegoating.

The entire government was involved at the time, he says, including opponents.

Adam Reed reports.

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Put me on trial, says defiant Salvini

The leader of Italy's right wing League Party, Matteo Salvini, claims he and his former government were all in it together when it came to taking the decision to deny the disembarkation of migrants from a coastguard ship last year.

He was speaking Thursday (February 13), a day after the Senate voted to lift his immunity from prosecution, opening the way for a potential trial over accusations that he illegally detained the migrants.

Salvini appeared at a news conference, not holding back at naming those others involved.

(SOUNDBITE) (Italian) LEAGUE LEADER, MATTEO SALVINI, SAYING: "The days that I blocked the ship (from docking at a port) before the disembarkation was a shared decision, agreed with (Prime Minister Giuseppe) Conte, (former Deputy Prime Minister Luigi) Di Maio, (Justice Minister Alfonso) Bonafede and (former Infrastructure Minister Danilo) Toninelli.

Salvini denied entry for the over 100 migrants on board the ship until European Union countries agreed to take them in.

The former deputy prime minister went on to request he be put on trial for the charges, even though the case could potentially sink his political career.

If found guilty he could eventually face up to 15 years in jail, although a resolution is not expected anytime soon, due to Italy's complicated legal system.




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