Richard Gere to testify against Salvini

Richard Gere to testify against Salvini in migrant case


Richard Gere is to testify against nationalist League party leader Matteo Salvini. The former interior minister is accused of ‘abducting’ some 150 rescued migrants on board a ship operated by Spanish NGO Open Arms. It was part of his closed-ports policy in August 2019.

Salvini prevented the ship from mooring in Lampedusa. In the meantime, Gere boarded the ship to express his solidarity with the 151 mainly north African migrants aboard.
“I know him as an actor but I don’t know what lesson he can give me or the Italians on our laws,” Salvini said.

Gere testifying in Palermo

 The Hollywood star is set to testify in Palermo on October 23. Salvini’s retorts to the news were full of sarcasm.
 “If some people are trying to turn the trial into a show and wants to see Richard Gere, let them go to the cinema, not the court,” said the nationalist leader. He added he would ask Gere for an autograph for his mother.

Palermo prosecutors have said that Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and ex-premier and 5-Star Movement (M5S) leader Giuseppe Conte are among 26 witnesses called to the trial.

Not Salvini’s first day in court

In May, Salvini was cleared in a similar case regarding rescued migrants on the Gregoretti coast guard ship in July 2019.

The Open Arms spent almost three weeks at sea after Salvini refused to give it permission to dock. He was interior minister at the time, in the first of two Conte governments.

Salvini ran a closed-ports policy against NGO-run migrant rescue ships for 14 months. He has said he acted to defend Italy’s borders and in accordance with a policy agreed with the rest of the government of the day.

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