Italy grants free legal representation to migrant shipwreck survivors

Italy grants free legal representation to migrant shipwreck survivors |

Those who survived the shipwreck in Cutro on 26 February that left 70 dead and several others missing will be heard by a judge and will be assisted free of charge by a pool of lawyers.

To understand the events, the Crotone Public Prosecutor’s Office requested that testimonies be gathered from survivors and the family members of the 70 confirmed victims. They will be assisted pro bono by lawyers in front of a judge in a hearing that will start next week.

“We are well advanced in reconstructing the network of communications that took place before the event”, Crotone prosecutor Giuseppe Capoccia told reporters.

“We have been instructed by several family members of the victims to represent them in the two criminal proceedings” underway, attorneys said.

The first criminal proceeding has already led to the arrest of some sailors who sailed the ship from Turkey to Italy on multiple culpable homicide counts.

The other proceeding, however, aims to assess whether anyone is legally responsible for failing to rescue the victims at sea.

“Legal assistance to the survivors and families of the victims is our way of supporting, including morally, the hundreds of people who have lost their families. We will also cooperate with the defenders of the other offended persons, entities and bodies that decide to take an active role in the proceedings”, the lawyers added.

The Rome Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation to evaluate the Interior Ministry’s responsibility in rescuing the shipwreck survivors after parliamentarians Angelo Bonelli (Europa Verde), Nicola Fratoianni and Ilaria Cucchi (Sinistra Italiana) filed a complaint.

Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi has received harsh criticism from the opposition, and critical voices suggest there may be a difference in views, even with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (Fdi/ECR).

Piantedosi is the technical minister closest to Deputy Prime Minister and Transport and Infrastructure Minister Matteo Salvini (Lega/ID) – his former chief of staff at the Interior Ministry when Salvini was interior minister under the Conte government.

However, the government denied these rumours and reaffirmed the government’s unity.

“The rumours that have appeared in some press organs regarding a summons to Palazzo Chigi by Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi, and alleged divergences on the internal line of the government on immigration, are literally invented and therefore without foundation”, the note reads.

Meloni symbolically named Cutro as the place for the Council of Ministers to meet on Thursday afternoon – a move allowed by the Constitution but only done in exceptional circumstances.

(Federica Pascale |


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