Matteo Salvini, a former Italian deputy prime minister and current leader of the right-wing association, will be on trial for detaining migrants on board an NGO ship, which was not allowed to go ashore. The event took place two years ago, when Salvini was head of the Italian Interior Ministry.

A Palermo judge, Lorenzo Janelli, decided to bring Senator Salvini to trial on Saturday.

The case relates to the events of August 2019, when the politician was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs in the government of Giuseppe Conte. He refused to allow the Spanish non-governmental organization Open Arms to call in the port of Lampedusa and to allow 147 migrants rescued at sea to go ashore.

For several days, the ship stood at the entrance to the island’s port, waiting for permission to enter.

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Salvini reiterates, in the many cases he has now made, that by closing ports to ships of immigrants, he defended Italy’s borders and worked for the country.

“The defense of the homeland is a sacred duty for the citizen,” said Salvini, commenting on the court’s decision.

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