Italian prosecutor Andrea Bonomo said in court on Saturday that there was no reason for former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini to stand trial on charges of illegally detaining hundreds of migrants on a ship moored off the Italian coast in July 2019.
Bonomo said in a preliminary hearing in Catania, Sicily, that Salvini should not be tried because his decision did not violate international treaties.
“We also cannot talk about illegal detention because the Gregoretti Coast Guard vessel where the migrants were located was a so-called safe place to provide them with medical care,” he warned.
He added that the then government had supported Salvini’s decision and his overall position on the issue, also with regard to the cabinet’s call on the EU to discuss another mechanism for allocating migrants to countries within the EU.
Salvini has praised the prosecutor for his decision.
“I’m happy because today the public prosecution said there was no crime, no kidnapping, that I have respected national and international laws, that we have saved lives and awakened Europe. Hearing this pays me back for months and months of bitterness, so I will calmly return to my children and hope that this will be over on May 14,” Salvini said about the prosecutor telling the judge in the case that there was no crime.
The decision on whether to continue the trial will be made on May 14.
Salvini faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. If sentenced to more than two years behind bars, he could be banned from holding public office for the next six years, making it impossible for him to run in the 2023 parliamentary elections.
This is the second such case charging Salvini for actions he took as interior minister, during which he banned all NGO rescue ships from entering Italian ports.
The whole government wanted it, Salvini argues
In August 2019, the ship of the Spanish NGO Open Arms spent days outside Lampedusa waiting for permission to enter the port, while the situation on board worsened.
The League (Lega Nord), Salvini’s party, takes a hard line on migrants entering Italy, arguing that the country faces an unfair burden as the first entry point for people traveling from Africa to Europe.
During the blockade of ships with migrants, Salvini held the position of minister of the interior and deputy prime minister in the coalition government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. He claims that the decision is not just his, because the whole cabinet agreed on it.
The federal government is determined to pass its “Democracy Promotion Act” with the Christian Democratic – Social Democratic – Coalition shortly before the end of the legislative period. At its focus are additional hundreds of millions of euros for associations and activists who are to take action against extremism.
So far, the Christian Democrats have refused because the planned law does not include their demand that state-funded activists and social workers sign a written commitment to the Basic Law and exclude cooperation with extremist groups.
Among the hundreds of organisations that are already funded by the “Live Democracy” programme and are to be better and more long-term financed with the help of the new law are many meaningful projects of renowned social sector organisations. For example, they look after dropouts from the radical right or Islamist.
However, problematic organisations also benefit from the funding. For example, the Berlin association Eoto, which sees itself as a “black empowerment association”. The Green Party local politician Jeff Kwasi Klein, who last May praised physical violence as a suitable form of protest, is one of the people who work there full-time.
The association Eoto, for which Klein is employed, is funded by the programme “Democracy Live” with more than 400,000 euros annually for the purpose of racism prevention; the social workers support black youth with so-called empowerment and train them in dealing with experiences of discrimination.
Also active in Berlin is the Islamic association Inssan, which has been granted at least 280,000 euros from the “Demokratie leben” fund in recent years. According to information from the newspaper WELT, the association’s managing director, Mohammad Hajjaj, was and is active in several associations that are considered Islamist by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Recently, the Berlin Senate also appointed Hajjaj to the expert commission for “anti-Muslim racism”.
According to Sigrid Herrmann-Marschall, an expert on Islamism, the importance of the Inssan association “cannot be underestimated”. The chairperson, Lydia Nofal, acts “as a mediator between the majority society and the network of activities of the Muslim Brotherhood”. Nofal and Hajjaj are both members of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) working group of Muslim Social Democrats and enjoy the backing of the Red-Red-Green Senate.
Various actors from the Antifa scene, in which peaceful and violent leftists come together, also benefit from the ” Demokratie leben” budget – at least 47 of the more than 100 Antifa groups nationwide are classified as “left-wing extremist” by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. For example, a recently published Antifa brochure on right-wing extremists in southern Lower Saxony was funded with 5,000 euros, according to the newspaper “taz”.
In the Berlin “Demokratie leben” project called Kiezstory, which is funded with 173,000 euros this year for the purpose of “shaping diversity”, Claudio C., who has roots in the antifa scene, is employed. He was in the headlines in February after nine pipe bombs were found in his flatmate’s room.
The trial concerning the crime of anti-state association against alleged jihadists and members of the Islamic Linz religious association Rahmet continued on Tuesday in the provincial court in the capital of Upper Austria. The Supreme Court had partially overturned the verdicts of the Graz Regional Court last year, which is why the trial is being held again. The trial was delegated to Linz because the defendants and witnesses are mostly residents of Linz.
After the main accused, the imam in the association, who had been questioned at the start of the trial the previous day, on Tuesday it was the turn of his alleged deputy as the second of the three accused. He was the secretary and gave lectures when the imam was not present. He also considers himself innocent and denied all accusations. He had designed the association’s homepage and its website in a social network. He had not known that he had placed the Islamic State flag found on the internet there. He had believed that it was only the harmless seal of the Prophet. He had always rejected IS or the terrorist organisation Jabhat al-Nusra. He confirmed that he had been involved in a Quran distribution campaign, which he described as basically “nice” because it had only had the aim of informing people about Islam.
The Linz association had never collected money for IS-fighters or their equipment, nor for questionable fellow believers in Bulgaria, he further assured. However, the accused confirmed that he had bought a telescopic sight for his brother at his request on a platform in Germany for about 200 euros and had arranged for its transport to Turkey. He had not known, however, that it could be used to upgrade a Kalashnikov rifle. He believed that the brother would sell it for profit in Turkey to earn money. He did not know whether the brother had fought for IS. He believed the brother worked in an aid organisation for Syrian refugees.
The prosecutor also accused him of having downloaded on his computer the partly brutal “44 Ways of Jihad”, an “Invitation to Jihad”, verses on “Orders to War” and a text on Jihad in Somalia. He had not distributed these in the association, the accused defended himself, nor did he support them. The representative of the prosecution also held up to him an intercepted telephone conversation in April 2014, from which he read out that he had known very well about his brother’s IS involvement. The accused described this as a translation error. The chairman of the jury court ordered a break after a discussion about the nature of the questioning.
How often does it happen that a whole courtroom feels sorry for the accused? The 40-year-old woman with a silk headscarf wants to testify, but she is intimidated and agitated, cries silently and can hardly get a word out. The mother is said to have killed her four-year-old son: She deliberately threw him off a bridge into the river Wümme in Rotenburg, prosecutor Pia Geisler said on Tuesday at the start of the trial in the Verden Regional Court. The child drowned in the river. The charge is manslaughter (Ref. Ks 101/21).
The accused had “killed a human being without being a murderer”, Geisler said. For this, section 212.1 of the penal code provides for prison sentences between five years and lifetime. The boy had come to the children’s hospital in Rotenburg on November 2, 2020 with severe burns. He had to be surgically treated three times. The mother, who is of Turkish nationality, had said that she had accidentally scalded him with hot water while washing him, the prosecutor explained.
The staff at the hospital were suspicious of the injuries and wanted to involve the Youth Welfare Office. The mother then took her child out of the clinic. “The accused feared that she would be denied parental rights,” said Geisler. In the woman’s mind, this also meant that the boy would not grow up as a Muslim, but as a Christian. Therefore, she threw her son over the railing of the bridge into the water to kill him.
She then tried to commit suicide, but was unsuccessful. Hours later, the police in Rotenburg picked up the distraught woman. The body of the drowned child was found in an all-night search operation. The mother was first taken to a psychiatric hospital and later remanded in custody.
When the woman tried to testify with the help of an interpreter but could not, presiding judge Volker Stronczyk broke off the questioning and adjourned the trial. “Everyone in the courtroom could see that the situation is very stressful for you,” he reassured the defendant as she apologised for her breakdown. “We are proceeding with the trial calmly and patiently.” The judge ordered defence lawyer Daniela Post to summarise her client’s testimony in writing for the next hearing on April 30.
The Children’s Hospital Zurich has registered twice as many suicide attempts among children and adolescents as before the pandemic. Experts also warned of an increase in anxiety disorders, depression, sleeping and eating disorders and substance abuse.
The consequences of the “measures to contain the Corona pandemic” with regard to the mental and physical health of children and adolescents can be clearly felt not only at the Children’s Hospital of the University of Zurich.
In 2020, the hospital treated 49 children after attempted suicide. In 2019 it was still 21. This is what the chief psychologist at the Zurich Children’s Hospital, Markus Landolt, said in an interview with the Swiss weekly NZZ am Sonntag. From January to March of the current year alone, as many cases were treated as in the whole of 2019.
According to the doctor, the connection with the lockdown (s) and other “measures” has not been scientifically confirmed, but “highly probable”. Eating disorders in particular are more prevalent. In the second half of last year, twice as many children and adolescents were admitted for eating disorders than in the same period of the previous year, reported the Argauer Zeitung.
Some of the children even had to be treated as inpatients, even if outpatient treatment was indicated. Landolt noted that this was happening in one of the richest cities in the world: “The supply situation is catastrophic.”
Most of the children at risk of suicide are girls over twelve, according to Landolt. Those affected come from all social classes, according to the doctor: “Girls internalize problems much more than boys, who tend to react against the outside world.”
In February, psychologists, child and adolescent psychotherapists and psychiatrists wrote an open letter, as the FAZ reported. in which they pointed out that their clients were increasingly experiencing anxiety disorders, depression, sleep disorders, eating disorders and the abuse of alcohol, medication or drugs. In addition, there were “tensions in the domestic environment, domestic violence, decline in performance and fear of failure, greatly increased media consumption and weight gain”.
Many pediatricians have demanded that schools remain open during lockdown, while some epidemiologists argue that schools are viral super-spreader environments.
by Giulio Meotti
Recently, a surprise visit to Turkey was organized for the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and for the President of the European Council, Charles Michel.
Objective: “To restore relations with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan”.
When it comes to Turkey, Europe is used to minimizing and betting that everything will be better tomorrow. As Turkey has embraced progress, it will inevitably progress, right?. Well, this was not the case. And Europe has capitulated.
Erdogan’s warmongering ambition is clear and is developing on all fronts of the reconquest that Atatürk had had to give up. The worse Erdogan behaves, the more Europe retreats.
Does Turkey call French President Macron “crazy”? In Brussels they pretend nothing has happened.
Is Turkey drilling in Cypriot waters? In Brussels they don’t know where Cyprus is.
Is Turkey converting the Hagia Sophia to a mosque? In Brussels they “follow the situation”.
Does Turkey threaten the Greek islands? From Brussels, brief complaints.
Does Turkey send armed forces to Libya, controlling the two main departure points of migrants to Europe and managing the port of Misrata? In Brussels just a sigh.
Is Turkey invading North-Eastern Syria and driving out Christians and Kurds? Brussels already has its own internal troubles.
Turkey bombs the Armenian population in Nagorno Karabakh? In Brussels, no one seems to remember the survivors of the Ottoman genocide, abandoned in the most extreme solitude to fight bravely until it becomes impossible to continue to slaughter their own children, those few who remain.
Is Turkey building mega mosques in Strasbourg, seat of the European Parliament? Brussels finances them because it no longer wants to be Christian.
Does Turkey arrest writersjournalists, human rights activists? From Brussels, no interference.
We have denied the Turkish danger for too long, out of convenience and cowardice but also out of ideological blindness and historical misunderstanding, this while within its borders Erdogan confiscated democracy, purged the state apparatus, repressed the opposition, gagged the press and persecuted minorities.
The European Union is reluctant to see what Turkey is doing, further aggravating its already solid reputation for hypocrisy. And now that Erdogan combines one humiliation of Europe after another, as dhimmi, European officials go to the sultan to humiliate themselves.
Erdogan remembers well when Europeans called the Ottoman Empire “the great sick man of Europe”. Today he takes his revenge in seeing them humiliated at his palace.
In a meeting room in Ankara, Erdogan and Charles Michel sat on gilded chairs, while the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen was left without one, sitting a little apart on a sofa, facing the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who occupies a lower rank in diplomatic protocol. Ursula just whispered a pathetic “ehm” of disapproval.
Critics had already attacked the visit, which took place just two weeks after Erdogan withdrew Turkey from an international treaty aimed at preventing violence against women and known as the “Istanbul Convention”.
A European treaty that Turkey was the first to ratify, when Erdogan was already in power! Now he no longer wants to hear about this text “which does not appear in the Koran”.
Yes, that’s what Erdogan said to justify leaving the treaty. Music for our brave European feminists.
In a wooded area near Mariawald Abbey, a memorial was damaged and a statue of the Virgin Mary was stolen in the period between Friday and Saturday. The police are looking for witnesses.
On April 10, 2021, at around 3:00 p.m., a witness reported to the police that he had noticed that the statue of the Virgin Mary was missing from a Catholic shrine near Mariawald Abbey. The wayside shrine, which is about 180 cm high, is located on a hiking trail directly on the 249 road and can also be seen from the road. The pointed roof of the memorial was pushed down and damaged. The missing statue of the Virgin Mary is about 45 cm in height. The period of the crime can be narrowed down to between Friday, April 9, 2021, 2:15 p.m., and Saturday, April 10, 2021, 3:00 p.m..
Witnesses who observed anything suspicious during the period of the crime or who can provide information on the whereabouts of the statue of the Virgin Mary are asked to contact the police station by calling 02421 949-6425.