The Italian Supreme Court confirmed on Tuesday the seizure of the “Iuventa” boat of the German NGO Jugend Rettet, immobilized in the port of Trapani, on the island of Sicily, since August 2017 as part of an investigation to “facilitate immigration” illegal”. The organization chartered this ship in 2016 for the rescue of migrants and refugees trying to cross the central Mediterranean.
It is a case similar to that of the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, whose ship was immobilized in a precautionary manner and later released by decision of the Ragusa Court, although the investigation against two of its members continues to favour illegal immigration.
After knowing the sentence, the German NGO has affirmed in its account in Twitter to be “devastated by the sentence” and they assure that “they will continue the fight by the right to save the people in danger in the sea”.
Italian justice accuses the German NGO of facilitating illegal immigration and of cooperating with traffickers of people in the Mediterranean, but there is still no person charged. The prosecution presented some photos in which members of the NGO are observed near the traffickers. The spokesman of the organization, Julian Phalke, defends that these photos are due to incidental episodes, because “they came to remove the engine to your boat and we began to raise the refugees to our boat”.
The NGO, which filed the appeal with the Supreme Court for the ship to be released, announced in a statement that it is considering raising the case to European justice. According to their figures, they have carried out 15 missions in which they have saved more than 14,000 lives.
“The fact that the sale has been withdrawn from its area of operation for more than 8 months, and that the Italian authorities have not rejected it today is a scandal.” The number of dead and missing persons, which is only slightly lower than in 2017, speaks for itself and should give a lot to think of politicians and European citizens, “said Philipp Külker, also a spokesman for the NGO.
“We are motivated to continue fighting against these events, despite all the reprisals against us, we will stand up for the rights of refugees and migrants in danger at sea,” he says.
Source: El Diario