Today, Mr. Jannelli, the judge presiding over the preliminary investigations for Palermo’s court in the case against the ex-minister of internal affairs, Matteo Salvini, for illegal confinement and misuse of authority, has accepted the request to establish Mediterranea Saving Humans as a civil party in the case. We were informed of this by our legal team lawyers, Favio Lanfranca and Serena Romano. We thank them for their efforts and for the passion with which they have always supported the work of Mediterranea.
Today is an especially important moment for us: civil sea rescue, the defense of human rights and of the lives of women, men and children attempting to escape Lybian concentration camps and crying for help at sea are not for once the defendants. They will be, instead, part of the prosecution against a politician who has defacto made his government position a means of violation of principles of humanity, international laws and of the Italian Constitution. Our decision of joining the civil suit is our way to stand with the main injured parties in this trial, the people rescued by Open Arms who had to endure illegal confinement by those who were in power at the time.
But, it is also a way to express solidarity with our brothers and sisters of the Open Arms crew, and with the crews of all the other search and rescue ships operating in the Mediterranean as part of the Civil Fleet who share with us this dutiful and extraordinary work. Today Mr Salvini is not the only defendant. The Italian and European governments are also on trial for their continued violation of the Hamburg Convention regarding the obligation of rescue at sea and the Geneva Convention on the prohibition of refugee refoulement. Standing in court today to accuse them are those who these (former) ministers have always criminalized but who are, instead, guilty of saving lives rather than letting them drown at sea.
Today we point the finger at those ministers and governments, and, on behalf of all those who have suffered for too long, we say: “We accuse you.”