Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has been placed under investigation for his decision not to let more than 170 migrants disembark from a coast guard ship, Italian media reported Saturday night.
The office of the prosecutor of Agrigento, Sicily, registered Salvini as a suspect for the alleged offenses of kidnapping, illegal arrest and abuse of office, Il Sole 24 Ore and La Repubblica reported.
Responding to the news, Salvini said: “They can arrest me but not the desire of 60 million Italians.”
Originally 177 migrants — mainly from Eritrea — were on board the ship, having been rescued in the Mediterranean. They had been in the Sicilian port of Catania since Monday. Italian authorities allowed some small groups to disembark for humanitarian reasons over the past few days but most had to remain on board.
Salvini on Saturday also gave permission for the remaining 137 to disembark. According to La Repubblica, 100 of them will be housed by the Catholic Church, and the rest will be hosted by Ireland and Albania.