Italian court upholds acquittal and exoneration of captain who rescued migrants
News server SeznamZprávy.cz reports that the German humanitarian activist and sea captain Carola Rackete has committed no crime and never should have been arrested. The correctness of her July 2019 release was confirmed on 17 January by an Italian court.
Rackete was accused of committing a crime when she rescued after rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. The activist was arrested after docking her vessel with those she had rescued onboard at the Italian island of Lampedusa despite authorities having banned her from doing so.
"This is a crucial verdict for humanitarian activists!" she tweeted after being released. "Nobody should be prosecuted for aiding people in need."
According to the AGI press agency, her attorney, Alessandro Gamberini, expressed "great satisfaction" with the verdict, which he said was "coherent from a legal perspective". The German activist was the captain of the Sea-Watch 3 ship, which with the aid of charity organizations has been performing rescue missions in the Mediterranean Sea.
Rackete has rescued migrants who have chosen, after fleeing Africa, to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe and have ended up in life-threatening situations. She got into problems with the Italian law on 12 June 2019.
The captain brought 53 migrants onto her ship from an inflatable boat being tossed in the waves near the Libyan coast. Italy accepted some of the migrants because they had health difficulties, but more than 40 of them had to spend two weeks at sea due to the Italian authorities' refusal to allow the Sea-Watch 3 to dock.
Conditions on the ship deteriorated over time. The captain, therefore, decided to dock at Lampedusa despite the ban.
Rackete was subsequently arrested on 29 June 2019. In July she was released.
The judge who initially ruled on the case said the activist had just been doing her job, i.e., rescuing people, and therefore should never have been arrested. Now another court has upheld that decision.
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