In June 2019, Italy detained captain Carola Rackete for entering the port of Lampedusa with 40 migrants on board. Sea-Watch has been rescuing refugees from drowning for the past seven years.
Italian authorities have dropped the last charge of aiding illegal migration against Carola Rackete, according to a court statement on Thursday.
The former captain of German rescue ship Sea-Watch 3 had been under investigation following her arrest in Italy in June 2019. She had refused to stand down in the face of military orders. Italian authorities said the Sea-Watch vessel did not have permission to dock.
“Doing her duty”
At the time, Rackete said she was “doing her duty” to save lives.
On Thursday, the court and Sea-Watch confirmed in a statement that Rackete acted lawfully under her duty to protect people. That decision was based on the fact that a port in Tripoli (Libya), could not have been considered a “place of safety”. Furthermore, a vessel can only serve as a place of sanctuary for a certain period of time.
The interior minister in Italy in the summer of 2019 was far-right politician Matteo Salvini. He pushed a tough anti-migration stance. Salvini is on trial, accused of deprivation of liberty and abuse of authority. If found guilty he could face up to 15 years in prison.
The Sea-Watch ship still carries out migrant rescues in the central Mediterranean.