Italian Sovereign Matteo Salvini said US actor Richard Gere will testify against him in the trial he will face after being accused of preventing illegal immigrants at sea in 2019 when he was interior minister.
Richard Gere will testify against me in a trial open your arms On October 23 in Palermo “in Sicily, he revealed in a political meeting, according to statements compiled by the Italian agency ANSA.
“I know him as an actor, but I don’t understand what kind of lessons he wants to give me,” added the association’s president on the far right.
“If someone wants to turn the trial into a show and wants to see Richard Gere, go to the movies and not to court,” he joked, promising to ask the actor for “my mother’s autograph.”
Salvini is accused of kidnapping and abuse of power to block the landing of 147 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean by the Spanish NGO Open Arms in August 2019.
For six days, Salvini refused permission to dock in a safe port for the NGO ship, which had docked off the small Italian island of Lampedusa, south of Sicily, while conditions for the people on board worsened.
Salvini asserts that he worked for Italy and to persuade migrants to turn away from African shores for the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean.
Richard Gere boarded the Open Arms ship in August 2019 in support of immigrants, which Salvini mocked.
The trial began on 15 September in Palermo, but was immediately adjourned until 23 October. Twenty-three civil parties were represented at the trial, including nine migrants who were on board the ship.
Salvini entered the League’s coalition government in 2018 with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5E), but in August 2019, he sparked a government crisis in hopes of remaking the group in an early parliamentary vote.
The maneuver failed and the M5E was able to form a new government with the Democratic Party (PD, center left), which was replaced in early 2021 by a broad coalition government that included the League led by Mario Draghi.