(Bloomberg) — Matteo Salvini will face trial for stopping migrants from landing in Italy, gifting the former deputy prime minister with a public platform for his anti-refugee policy after recent setbacks.
The opposition leader has built his political fortunes mostly by tapping fears of unbridled immigration.
While the case may go on for years in Italy’s plodding court system and could undermine his bid for power, Salvini instructed lawmakers from his League party not to oppose the trial, in order to allow him to defend his actions.
Last July, as interior minister, he blocked a ship carrying rescued migrants from docking in a Sicilian port.
Prosecutors charged him with kidnapping. Salvini says he was just applying government policy.