Italian judge drops charges against Spanish migrant rescue NGO
“The pre-trial judge in Catania, Sicily, ended proceedings against captain Marc Reig Creus and mission chief Isabel Montes Mier,’’ a spokesman for the NGO said on Wednesday.
The pair had been charged with being part of a criminal organisation that abetted illegal immigration.
Even prosecutors had called for the case to be dropped, in a request to the court on Tuesday.
“Catania Chief Prosecutor Carmelo Zuccaro, who has a reputation for being hostile towards migrant rescue groups, “found no evidence against us,’’ Open Arms spokesman Riccardo Gatti told dpa.
A criminal case is still pending against Creus and Mier in Ragusa, another Sicilian town where they face charges of abetting illegal immigration and duress.
Both investigations are related to Proactiva Open Arms’ decision in March 2018 to take over 200 migrants to the Sicilian port of Pozzallo, after refusing to hand them over to the Libyan coastguard.
At the time, the Spanish NGO said it could not allow people to be returned to Libya, as they would risk torture and abuse there.
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