Sangeetha was asked to provide comment as a renowned International Human Rights expert for Al Jazeera‘s piece into Matteo Salvini’s ongoing criminal trial. Former Interior Minister of Italy, Matteo Salvini could be indicted for charges of kidnapping and dereliction of duty in two separate cases involving the coastguard ship Gregoretti and the Spanish NGO rescue vessel Open Arms.
In July and August 2019, people on board the two vessels who had been rescued from the Mediterranean, including children, were prevented from disembarking for five and 20 days respectively while Italy negotiated their relocation to other EU countries. Salvini insisted Italy’s ports would remain “closed” under his watch.
Al Jazeera’s investigative journalist, Ylenia Gostoli, interviewed Sangeetha for her views on what impact the trial could have on the architecture of asylum law in Europe.
“Italy is not the first country to breach international law or to breach the law of the sea, we’ve seen it in Malta recently, in Greece earlier this year, arguably in Hungary,” Sangeetha explained, continuing to note that the trial “signals to Europe’s borderlands that domestic draconian policies can’t be used to undo international obligations, or to weaponise the right to asylum.”
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