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Líder da Liga, Matteo Salvini, em Roma

Salvini mocks Richard Gere after the actor becomes a witness at the trial

Matteo SalviniThe leader of the right-wing Northern League party has mocked the sentence he is facing for refusing to allow a migrant ship to dock in the country in 2019 after the actor. Richard Gere He is accepted as a witness.

Salvini, then Italy’s interior minister, appeared on Saturday at the second session of the trial in Palermo, the Sicilian capital, where the court approved the list of witnesses.

Witnesses included former Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and other Italian politicians and Hollywood actor Richard Gere, who was in Italy at the time and joined the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms – which operated the rescue ship – to deliver food to people on board.

“Now tell me how serious the trial is as Richard Gere comes from Hollywood to testify how bad I am,” Salvini said.

Proactiva Open Arms told the court that Gere could report directly on conditions on the ship, which was stranded on the Italian island of Lampedusa for 19 days before prosecutors ordered the evacuation of those on board.

It is unclear whether Gere will appear in person to testify at the trial.

Salvini, who made much of his political fortune through an anti-immigration campaign, said he simply did his duty as a minister.

He said, “Defending the state’s borders, security, honor and dignity is not the duty of a minister only, but the duty of everyone.” “Putting you on trial just for doing my duty is fantastical.”

“The Spanish boat that refuses to go to Spain is committing abuse,” he added. “If Spain gives its flag to boats it can’t control, there is a problem.”

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Salvini faces up to 15 years in prison if found guilty at the end of a three-phased protracted court case.

His eventual conviction may prevent him from holding a government position in the future.

The court has set a new hearing for December 17.