German rescue captain to sue Italy’s Salvini over migrant comments

Carola Rackete’s lawyer said she will sue Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. (Reuters)
Updated 05 July 2019

German rescue captain to sue Italy’s Salvini over migrant comments

  • Salvini has repeatedly denounced Rackete, calling her a pirate and an outlaw, and promising to expel her from Italy
  • Rackete was freed after a judge dismissed accusations she had endangered the lives of Italian servicemen by ignoring military orders and bringing migrants to Lampedusa

ROME: The German captain of a migrant rescue ship will sue Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini for defamation, her lawyer said on Friday, intensifying the battle of wills between the charity worker and the far-right leader.
Carola Rackete, 31, was freed from house arrest on Tuesday after a judge dismissed accusations she had endangered the lives of Italian servicemen by ignoring military orders and bringing a boatload of migrants to the port of Lampedusa.
Salvini has repeatedly denounced Rackete, calling her a “pirate” and an “outlaw,” and promising to expel her from Italy.
Rackete’s lawyer Alessandro Gamberini said a lawsuit had been drawn up. “We have already prepared the case against minister Salvini,” he told Radio Cusano Campus, accusing the minister of stirring up hatred.
Rackete, who sports long, distinctive dreadlocks, has been targeted by Internet trolls, with threats of rape and death thrown her way on social media. She is currently in hiding.
“A defamation case is a way of sending a signal. When people get hit in the wallet they understand that they cannot insult people gratuitously,” he added, referring to the eventual fines that might be inflicted on Salvini if he loses the case.
Salvini, who heads the far-right coalition League party and also serves as deputy prime minister, appeared to relish the prospect of a court encounter.
“She breaks laws and attacks Italian military ships, and then sues me. Mobsters don’t frighten me, let alone a rich and spoiled German communist!” he wrote on Twitter.
Rackete herself still faces possible charges of aiding illegal immigration and resisting public officials and faces questioning in Sicily by magistrates next week. Her Sea-Watch 3 boat has been impounded as the investigation continues.
Since taking office a year ago, Salvini has introduced a battery of anti-migrant measures, leading to a sharp decline in new arrivals and a precipitous fall in charity ships operating off the coast of Libya in search of flimsy migrant boats.
Salvini said on Friday that another German charity ship, the Alan Kurdi, had picked up 65 people off the coast of Libya and warned it not to try to come to Italy.
“The boat can sail to Tunisia or Germany,” he said in a statement, adding that nearby Malta supported his stance.
Earlier on Friday, Malta said it would take in 54 migrants rescued by an Italian charity boat off Libya this week, as part of a migrant swap with Rome.
The two countries have repeatedly clashed over who should receive migrants rescued in the Mediterranean, but both have also criticized their European Union partners for failing to take in more of the newcomers.
“Our two countries have been suffering the indifference and failings of the European Union for years,” Salvini said.


LIVE: Davos 2020 Day One - Thunberg slams elites, Trump hails US economic rebound

Updated 23 min 58 sec ago

LIVE: Davos 2020 Day One - Thunberg slams elites, Trump hails US economic rebound

  • Discussion panels featuring a number of high profile figures from the political, business and civil world.
  • Environment and climate issues on agenda, but Iran and Lebanon expected to feature heavily

The World Economic Forum 2020 started on Tuesday in Davos in Switzerland. Greta Thunberg kicked off the three day forum in a panel discussion on Sustainable Path towards a Common Future.

There will be discussion panels featuring a number of high profile figures from the political, business and civil world.

They will discuss a wide range of subjects including the environment and climate issues, but Iran and Lebanon are expected to feature heavily.

Follow Arab News’ coverage below

13:45 - Bollywood superstar and mental health ambassador Deepika Padukone has a very honest and inspiring conversation with World Health Organization's director-general about her own experiences with mental illness and how the stigma surrounding it can be ended...

In 2017, Padukone spoke vividly about her struggle with depression and the stigma that surrounded it. She also described how she decided to speak out, so others wouldn't have to suffer in the same way she did. Watch the Crystal Awardee speaking earlier at Davos:

13:00 - Saudi Arabia's Minister for Communications and IT Abdullah Al-Swaha has been speaking on a panel about the strategic outlook for Middle East economies. He makes the salient point that if countries want their economies to grow, they must focus on youth, technology and the empowerment of women...

11:30 - US President Donald Trump reverted to his role as salesman Tuesday, telling a gathering of the world's top businessmen in the Swiss Alps that he's led a “spectacular” turnaround of the US economy and encouraged them to invest in America.

He reminded the audience that when he spoke here two years ago, early in his presidency, “I told you that we had launched the great American comeback."

“Today I’m proud to declare the United States is in the midst of an economic boom, the likes of which the world has never seen before,” the president said.

Read more of the US President's address at Davos here: Trump lauds US economy in Davos, says little on climate woes

11:00 - Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson delivered a special message from Pope Francis. He called on everyone to remember that we are all members of one human family, and that we have a moral obligation to care for one another.

And he asked for a renewed ethical approach in the forthcoming discussions, including in the discipline of economics.

10:30 - The historian Yuval Noah Harari struck a pessimistic note at the opening of this session on the technology arms race. 

"On the most shallow level it could be a repeat of the 19thcentury industrial revolution, when the leaders had the chance to dominate the world economically and politically... I understand the current arms race as an imperial arms race... You don't need to send the soldiers in if you have all the data on a country," says Harari.

10:00 - In one of the first sessions of the WEF, Greta Thunberg said the voices of science and youth need to be at the center of the conversations on environment and future during “Forging a Sustainable Path towards a Common Future” panel discussion. 

Read more on her speech hereThunberg condemns climate inaction as Trump joins Davos