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Italy's Senate votes to send ex-interior minister Salvini to trial over alleged 'migrant kidnapping'

(February 12, 2020) League leader Matteo Salvini attends a debate at Senate, prior to a vote on lifting his parliamentary immunity
(February 12, 2020) League leader Matteo Salvini attends a debate at Senate, prior to a vote on lifting his parliamentary immunity   -  
(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
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Italy's opposition leader Matteo Salvini lost his parliamentary immunity and will be standing trial over "migrant kidnapping" charges.

It follows Wednesday's vote in the Italian parliament, where 152 vs 76 senators chose to indict the right-wing Lega's leader.

Lega senators abstained, walking out of the senate.

Salvini was indicted because of an incident dating back to last July, when 131 migrants were prevented from disembarking in an Italian port for almost a week.

At the time Salvini was interior minister and was pushing for the closure of ports to migrants.

Lega was part of the governing majority after Italy's last general election, but ended up in the opposition benches after Salvini triggered a government crisis last August, which led to the formation of a new executive, which Lega was no longer part of.

On Wednesday, after the senate vote, Salvini wrote on Twitter: "I've got nothing to be ashamed of. I am proud of what I did when I was in office and I'm going to reaffirm this at the trial".

He held a press conference on Thursday, where he defended his work as the-then interior minister, saying it was "achieved what nobody else managed to" in terms of migration policies.

Earlier in January, he advised his League colleagues in the Senate to vote in favour of his indictment, in a stunt that was seen as an attempt to win support before the Emilia Romagna regional election, which he then lost.

Whatever the outcome of Wednesday's session, though, Salvini will have to face another indictment vote on similar allegations. On February 27, a Senate committee will rule on whether to charge him with "detaining" 107 migrants on an NGO boat in Sicily, between 14 and 20 August 2019.

For more on Salvini's indictment watch Euronews Italy correspondent Giorgia Orlandi's video on top of the page.

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