July 1, 2019 / 11:41 AM / 5 months ago

Italy PM says told Merkel decision over German captain lies with judges

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte leaves a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium July 1, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he had no decision power over the fate of the German sea captain who has been arrested for violating a docking ban, adding the matter lied with the country’s magistrates.

German Chancellor Angela “Merkel asked me about the captain and I explained that in Italy executive power is separate from the judicial one ... the prime minister cannot step in. It’s in the magistrates’ hands,” he told a press briefing in Brussels.

Captain Carola Rackete, 31, who spent two weeks in international waters with dozens of rescued African migrants, was arrested on Saturday when her NGO ship docked at the island port of Lampedusa without permission.

Magistrates in the Sicilian town of Agrigento are due to decide whether to release her after a hearing later on Monday.

Reporting by Francesca Piscioneri, writing by Maria Pia Quaglia, editing by Valentina Za

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