The founder of the NGO Proactiva Open Arms, Óscar Camps, has denounced in Rome today the immobilization in Italy of the boat with which immigrants rescue the Mediterranean and has ensured that the Libyan coastguard “generate panic ” in high sea.
The ship with which the Spanish NGO helps immigrants in the Mediterranean is immobilized in the port of Pozzallo (south) by order of the Prosecutor’s Office of Catania, which raises the alleged crimes of criminal association and favoring illegal immigration.
The ship arrived in Pozzallo last Friday after waiting more than a day to be assigned a port to disembark the 216 immigrants it had on board and after Libyan coastguard threatened with death in case of not delivering the rescued.
Camps explained today in a press conference that “when the Libyan coastguards arrive at an event (to a rescue) they generate panic“, which causes immigrants to throw themselves into the sea.
This is what happened during the clash, that the Coast Guard of Libya decided not to comply with their threats and left when they realized that they could not rescue because of their lack of space on board and because they saw that a dozen immigrants threw themselves into the water.
The coordinator of Proactiva in Italy, Riccardo Gatti, has indicated that in that rescue “there was nothing different” regarding the “modus operandi” that the NGO applies since July 2016, since when they have rescued more than 25,000 immigrants in 43 operations different
But it did change something in terms of the organization of the rescue because he said that the ship received a call from Italy, which coordinates operations in the central Mediterranean, with which they were warned that Libya “took the coordination of the operation”
“It is the first time we heard that the Libyans coordinate a rescue,” he said, to clarify that he does not know the reasons for the change.
At the moment, the Italian preliminary investigation judge has ten days to decide whether or not to validate the blockade of the ship and tomorrow the defense of the NGO will present a report to the Italian Justice to prevent that from happening.
The criminal lawyer of the humanitarian organization, Alessandro Gamberini, has considered that the investigation is a forced maneuver, “intolerable from the legal point of view”.
He explained that the investigation should start from the Prosecutor’s Office of Ragusa, province to which Pozzallo belongs, but that through the approach of the crime of criminal association was assumed by the Anti-Mafia Directorate and the Catania procurator, Carmelo Zuccaro, who has been very critical in recent times. with the NGOs that help immigrants.
The press conference of the Proactiva leaders took place in a seat of the Italian Senate on the initiative of the progressive senator and president of the Human Rights Commission of said chamber, Luigi Manconi, who has defended the performance of Proactiva Open Arms.
The progressive legislator has considered that in no case the code of conduct established between the NGOs that rescue immigrants and the Government of Italy last August “does not have the force of law” so their possible breach does not involve incurring in a crime.
Proactiva Open Arms, based in Badalona (Barcelona), is one of the NGOs that in recent times have been involved in the rescue of the thousands of immigrants who undertake the trip to Europe from the coasts between Tripoli and the border with Tunisia.Camps has said that the rescue took place in international waters and that “protecting and saving the lives of people in danger on the high seas is the most important responsibility of any military or civil ship and all other decisions go to a second term.”
“We are very proud of having been able to disembark in Pozzallo without dropping corpses as we have done on other occasions, the authorities did not make it easy for us to do it,” he pointed out.
The prosecutor’s investigation is directed towards the ship’s commander, Mark Reig, the mission coordinator, Anabel Montes, and a third person whose identity is unknown.