ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Tuesday urged the upper house Senate to reject a request by judges to put him on trial for alleged kidnapping after he refused to let migrants disembark from a rescue ship, saying he had acted in the public interest.
His appeal is likely to cause strains with his coalition partner, the 5-Star Movement, which has always presented a squeaky clean judicial image and lambasted lawmakers who try to use parliamentary privilege to avoid legal action.
Tribunal - Investigations - Government - Ministers - Week
A special tribunal which reviews investigations involving government ministers last week called for Salvini to stand trial for alleged abuse of power and kidnapping over his role last year in detaining some 150 migrants on board a rescue boat for a week.
A Senate committee is due to meet on Wednesday to start discussions on whether to lift Salvini’s parliamentary immunity with a vote expected by the end of February.
Recommendation - Senate - Review - Lawmakers - Balance
Its recommendation will pass to the full Senate for review, with 5-Star lawmakers holding the balance of power in both the commission and the chamber.
In a letter to Corriere della Sera newspaper published on Tuesday, Salvini, who is also head of the far-right League party, urged the upper house to reject the request.
Law - Salvini - Senate - Ministers - Interest
Citing constitutional law, Salvini said the Senate could protect ministers if they had acted in the public interest.
“This is not about me. …Fighting illegal...
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