Sunday August 14, 2022

German activist Carola Rackete in court

Published : 23 Jun 2022, 22:14

  DF News Desk

Matteo Salvini, former Italian interior minister and head of the populist Lega party, attends a session at the Italian Senate. Photo: Roberto Monaldo/LaPresse via ZUMA Press/dpa.

A court in Milan has suspended proceedings in the case against Italy's former interior minister Matteo Salvini for offensive remarks made about German activist and rescue boat captain Carola Rackete, reported dpa.

The judge ruled that the Italian Senate must first decide whether Salvini's 2019 statements can in fact be challenged at all, Ansa news agency reported on Thursday.

Salvini referred to Rackete, among other things, as a "rich and spoiled German communist."

The boat captain from German NGO Sea-Watch at the end of June 2019 steered her vessel with around 40 rescued migrants on board into the port of the Italian island of Lampedusa without permission from local authorities.

Rackete was then briefly placed under house arrest.

The fact that the Senate is now involved goes back to the fact that Salvini, who at the time of the incident was Italy's interior minister, has been a member of parliament since 2018.

Salvini's lawyer has previously argued that her client had made the statements about Rackete in his official capacity as senator.

Rackete's lawyer, Alessandro Gamberini, argued on Thursday that Salvini's remarks had nothing to do with his role as a lawmaker.

"We express our profound disapproval for this decision," he said.