Italy allows migrants to disembark

Migrants who had been on Italian coastguard ship Diciotti in the Sicilian port of Catania for six days have been allowed to disembark. With the backing of the Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte, Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini had refused to permit most of the 140 mainly Eritrean migrants to leave the ship until their final location was decided.

Salvini had refused the vessel permission to disembark until the EU agreed to distribute the migrants among other countries. He said that he did not want the migrants to be a “burden” on Italian citizens. This move brought him into conflict with not just other EU states, but also with other members of his own government and the Italian court system. Sicilian prosecutors had opened an inquiry into possible illegal confinement, illegal arrest, and abuse of power.

The office of the prosecutor of Agrigento, Sicily, registered Salvini as a suspect for the alleged offenses of kidnapping, illegal arrest and abuse of office.

Late on Saturday August 25th Salvini said that a number of bishops had agreed to take them in.

According to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, 100 of them will be housed by the Catholic Church, and the rest will be hosted by Ireland and Albania.