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Sea Watch captain to sue Italy's Salvini for defamation

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Sea Watch captain to sue Italy's Salvini for defamation
Carola Rackete, captain of the Sea Watch rescue ship, is in hiding after receiving threats. Photo: Giovanni Isoline/AFP
17:46 CEST+02:00
The captain of detained migrant rescue ship the Sea Watch 3, Carola Rackete, will sue Matteo Salvini for defamation after a tirade of insults from Italy's anti-immigration interior minister, her lawyer said on Friday.

"We have prepared the legal complaint against minister Salvini," Alessandro Gamberini told Italian radio, saying "it's not easy to make a complete list of all the insults Salvini has made these last weeks".

READ ALSO: Italian court rules Sea Watch migrant rescue captain is free to go

Salvini, who is also deputy prime minister and an admirer of US President Donald Trump, is an avid user of social media, which he also uses to insult people he disagrees with.

Salvini "stirs the troubled waters of hate. A defamation lawsuit is a way to send a signal," the lawyer said, prompting a swift and angry response from the League minister.

"She breaks laws and attacks Italian military vessels, and then she sues me," Salvini tweeted. "I'm not afraid of the Mafia, let alone a rich and spoiled communist!"


Photo: Sea Watch/AFP

Italian police last week arrested Rackete, 31, after she defied orders to stay away and forced her way into port on Italy's southern Lampedusa island to disembark 40 rescued migrants who had been stuck at sea on her vessel for two weeks.

An Italian judge this week ordered her freed as she had been acting to save lives, a decision which also sparked Salvini's ire.

READ ALSO:

Two other investigations, on charges of helping people smugglers and resisting the authorities are still underway after she forced her way past Italian customs vessels.

During the two-week standoff and after Salvini launched a series of furious tweets at the charity worker, including calling her a "pain in the arse", "criminal", "delinquent" and "poor woman who only tried to kill five Italian soldiers".

Rackete has gone into hiding following numerous threats, Sea Watch said on Wednesday, a day after her release from Italian custody. 

 
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