Conte gives evidence to hearing on Salvini-Gregoretti case

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(ANSA) – ROME, JAN 28 – Premier Giuseppe Conte on Thursday told a court hearing on alleged abduction of migrants aboard the Gregoretti coast guard ship by League leader Matteo Salvini in 2019 that the former interior minister called the shots, those present at the hearing said.
    Salvini refused a landing berth to the 131 migrants aboard the Gregoretti ship from July 27 to 31, 2019, when authorisation to land at Augusta near Siracusa came from a judge.
    The case is one of several stemming from Salvini’s former closed ports policy against migrant-rescue ships during his 14-month stint as interior minister.
    “Premier Conte clarified that the decision on the place of safety was taken by then interior minister Matteo Salvini,” the lawyers representing the civil plaintiffs in the case said after Conte gave evidence at the premier’s office to a preliminary hearing on a request by prosecutors for Salvini to stand trial.
    Catania Preliminary Hearing Judge (GUP) Nunzio Sarpietro said after the hearing that “the individual events were handled by the individual ministers – Minister Salvini first and then Minister (Luciana) Lamorgese after.
    “Conte was very cooperative, with highly in-depth answers”.
    But Salvini’s defence team said the premier’s testimony had shown that Salvini acted on the basis of the policy of the government of the day.
    “The premier talked about team work and so Salvini’s decision wasn’t the reckless choice of an individual minister but part of a line that Conte agreed with,” said Salvini’s lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno.
    Like Salvini, Bongiorno was a minister in the first Conte government, which ran from June 2018 until Salvini pulled the plug on it in August 2019. (ANSA).


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