The ruling contradicts a ruling in a similar case last month regarding Salvini’s treatment of migrants and refugees.
An Italian judge in Sicily has dismissed a case against right-wing leader Matteo Salvini for refusing to let migrants and refugees disembark from a coastguard ship in 2019, saying no crime had been committed.
The case centered on an incident in July 2019, when Salvini, then Italian Interior Minister, stranded more than 100 people aboard the Gregoretti for six days while he waited for European allies to agree to relocate them. .
Some had accused Salvini of having kidnapped the refugees.
But Catania prosecutors had asked the judge not to bring Salvini to justice, saying his decision did not violate international treaties and should not be considered a kidnapping.
The Catania case is similar to a separate investigation in the Sicilian capital of Palermo into migrants and refugees who were detained aboard another boat a month after the Gregoretti incident.
However, in a mixed ruling, a judge in Palermo last month ordered Salvini to stand trial over the allegations. He could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
“If there was no kidnapping in Catania, then I don’t see why there should be kidnappings in Palermo,” Salvini said after Friday’s decision.
“It’s a beautiful day, not only for me and my family, but for all Italians who want controlled, regulated and positive immigration, and not the thousands of arrivals that we cannot allow in this post-COVID summer. . “
The trial in Palermo will begin on September 15. A final conviction could prevent him from becoming a member of the government.
Italy this month is again seeing a high number of arrivals on its southernmost island of Lampedusa. More than 2,100 people arrived over the weekend alone.
During his 14 months as Minister of the Interior, Salvini prevented several boats from docking in Italy in an attempt to prevent migrants and refugees from entering the country, and has regularly accused the organizations charities that exploited them from human trafficking.
He has built much of his political profile on an anti-immigration campaign.
In the summer of 2019, with his party leading the polls, Salvini withdrew the League from the then Italian coalition government in a failed attempt to call an election.
The League is now part of Mario Draghi’s two-month-old government of national unity.
Although it has lost some voter support since its failure in 2019, the party remains Italy’s most popular, according to most opinion polls.