In a dispute with the ex-captain Carola Rackete, the former interior minister Salvini has to answer to the court for defamation. But he doesn’t exercise restraint – quite the opposite.

Italy’s former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has spoken out defiantly ahead of a court hearing in Milan over comments made against German activist Carola Rackete.

“We are the only country in the world where some German piloting a ship carrying illegal immigrants rammed an Italian military boat in an Italian port, and the result is that not she, but the interior minister The court stands,” said the leader of the right-wing Lega party in a speech near Milan on Monday. Salvini has to answer for defamation.

On Facebook, the politician described the 34-year-old activist as a “criminal German” or “rich and spoiled German communist”. Rackete was not present at the trial in Milan on Thursday and also on the other days of the trial – unless she was summoned, said Rackete’s spokeswoman for the German Press Agency on Monday. “I have absolutely no interest in wasting my time with Mr. Salvini, but I think people have to take responsibility for their actions,” Rackete said.

Temporarily under house arrest

In June 2019, Rackete steered a ship belonging to the German organization Sea-Watch. On board the “Sea-Watch 3” were 53 migrants who the crew had previously rescued from distress in the Mediterranean Sea. The ship was not assigned a safe port by the Italian authorities. In the meantime, however, some people have been evacuated due to medical emergencies. On June 29, Rackete entered the port of Lampedusa with about 40 remaining migrants without authorization from the Italian authorities and was then temporarily placed under house arrest.

Salvini was Interior Minister from June 2018 to September 2019 and drove a tough migration course. He is also currently facing charges of deprivation of liberty at the Palermo court in the Open Arms case. In August 2019, the civilian sea rescuers on the Spanish ship “Open Arms” were not assigned a safe port for a long time.