Matteo SalviniThe leader of the right-wing Northern League party mocked the actor’s decision to refuse permission to an immigrant ship to dock in the country in 2019. Richard Gere be accepted as a witness.
Salvini, who was then Italy’s interior minister, appeared on Saturday during a second hearing in the Sicilian capital Palermo, where the court approved a list of witnesses.
Witnesses include former Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, other Italian politicians and Hollywood actor Richard Gere, who was in Italy at the time and joined the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms – which ran the rescue ship – to deliver food to the people on board. for.
“Now you tell me how serious a trial is where Richard Gere comes from Hollywood to testify how bad I am,” Salvini said.
Proactiva Open Arms told the court that Gere could provide a direct account of the conditions aboard the ship, which was stranded on the Italian island of Lampedusa for 19 days before prosecutors ordered the evacuation of those on board.
It is unclear whether Gere will appear in person to testify at the trial.
Salvini, who built much of his political fortune on an anti-immigration campaign, said he fulfilled his duty as minister.
“It is not the duty of just one minister to protect the country’s borders, security, honor and dignity, but it is everyone’s duty,” he said. “It is real to be prosecuted just for doing your duty.”
“A Spanish boat that refuses to go to Spain is abused,” he said. “If Spain gives its flag to boats it cannot control, there is a problem.”
Salvini could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted at the end of the three-stage long court case.
A final sentence could bar him from future government office.
The court has fixed December 17 for a new hearing.