July 2, 2019 / 7:17 PM / 2 months ago

Italian judge says German captain acted to protect human life: ruling

Carola Rackete, the 31-year-old Sea-Watch 3 captain, disembarks from a Finance police boat, in Porto Empedocle, Italy July 1, 2019. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

AGRIGENTO, Italy (Reuters) - An Italian judge ruled on Tuesday that the German captain of a rescue charity ship had not broken the law when she forced a naval blockade at the weekend, saying she had been carrying out her duty to protect human life.

Carola Rackete, a 31-year-old German national, disobeyed Italian military orders and entered the port of Lampedusa on Saturday to bring some 41 African migrants to land in the Dutch-flagged Sea-Watch boat.

She was immediately detained and placed under house arrest, but in a blow for Italy’s hardline interior minister, Matteo Salvini, Judge Alessandra Vella ruled that Rackete had been carrying out her duty and had not committed any act of violence.

Reporting by Wladimrio Pantaleone; Editing by Crispian Balmer

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