American actor Richard Gere has agreed to testify against former Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who is being prosecuted for refusing to accept a Spanish migrant ship.
Prosecutors in Sicily accused Matteo Salvini of incapacitating migrants aboard the Spanish Open Arms rescue ship. It happened when the politician was deputy prime minister and minister of internal affairs. He faces up to 15 years in prison.
When Richard Gere, who at the time was on vacation with his family in Tuscany, heard about the ship being held on hold, he spoke to an NGO and traveled to Sicily to join a charity and help provide food and supplies to the people on board.
The 72-year-old actor also attended a conference in Lampedusa and called on people to support the charity and the people Open Arms saved. “All hands on deck would be lost,” he said. – I was in Lampedusa two or three years ago to see the local migrant camp, so I knew the situation personally – he emphasized.
He said about the migrants that they were “people who experienced terrible moments”. – They suffered a lot. They call them migrants, but they are refugees who need help, he added.
Salvini will ask Gere for an autograph
After 19 days of waiting at sea, everyone the migrants were allowed to disembark in Lampedusa. Matteo Salvini said he was doing his job by holding the Open Arms ship. “I’ll be tried for defending my country,” he said. “I will go with my head held high, also on your behalf,” he added.
Last week, lawyers representing Open Arms filed a list of witnesses willing to testify against Salvini, including Richard Gere. “If anyone wants to turn a trial into a show and wants to see Richard Gere, go to the movies, not to court,” Salvini told reporters.
“I know him as an actor, but I don’t know what lessons he wants to teach me,” he added, promising to ask the American actor for an autograph for his mother.
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