23:36 GMT06 August 2020
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    ROME (Sputnik) - The upper house of the Italian Parliament, the Senate, voted on Wednesday against authorizing Sicily's prosecutors to proceed with a legal case against Italian Interior Minister and Vice Prime Minister Matteo Salvini over his refusal to let a migrant boat dock in Sicily last summer, Senator Maurizio Gasparri told reporters.

    Gasparri specified that the majority of senators — 232 out of 321 — have already supported this decision. Meanwhile, the official results of the vote would be announced after 7 p.m. local time (18:00 GMT), since the senators are allowed to vote until this time.

    The Senate has thus supported the decision that its special immunity panel had already made last month.

    READ MORE: Italian PM Accuses EU of Shortsightedness in Dealing With Migration Issue

    Last August, prosecutors in Sicily placed Salvini under investigation for the alleged kidnapping of migrants whom he did not let disembark in Sicily. In January, a special tribunal recommended that Salvini should face trial. Under Italian legislation, lawmakers vote on either a minister should face trial or proceedings should be halted.

    READ MORE: Record Number of Migrants Sent Back From Germany to Other EU Countries in 2018

    Prior to that, the Italian Coast Guard rescued 177 migrants on their way from Africa and took them on board its Diciotti vessel. Salvini did not give permission for their disembarkation and stated that a solution should be found at the EU level, using the practice of distributing migrants among EU member states. Since neither Maltese nor Italian authorities agreed to allow migrants to disembark at their ports, the ship was forced to remain at sea. The migrants spent 10 days on board the ship before they were allowed to get off at the port of Catania in Sicily.

    ship, migration, migrants, Matteo Salvini, Italy
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