The Italian Council of Ministers has authorised a new security decree drafted by populist interior minister Matteo Salvini that will restrict the operations of migrant transport NGOs in the country.
New provisions include the ability for the Italian government to seize vessels from civil society groups which violate Italian government sanctions or that attempt to illegally enter Italian territorial waters with illegal migrants, Il Giornale reports.
Part of the decree will also give more leeway to intelligence and police services to be able to wiretap and use undercover operatives to combat illegal people traffickers.
Article One of the new decree states that the Interior Ministry now has the power to “restrict or prohibit the entry, transit or parking of ships in the territorial sea, except in the case of military ships or ships in non-commercial government service, for reasons of public security and order”.
In addition to having their ships seized, captains could face fines of €10,000 to €50,000 (£8,900-£46,000/$11,000-$56,000) for disobeying the decree.
Migrant Rescue Vessel Captain Faces 20 Years For Aiding Illegal Immigration https://t.co/NVD8YPO9BE
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 11, 2019
German migrant transport vessel captain Pia Klemp is currently facing trial in Italy for allegedly working with people traffickers. If convicted, she could face up to 20 years in prison.
Another part of the decree will see stiffer penalties for those who attack police officers during political demonstrations. “I do not think that freedom of thought passes through instruments such as firecrackers, bats, and sticks,” Salvini commented.
The new decree follows that first migration and security decree that was passed last year. The former decree scrapped the humanitarian residency permit and invested several million euros into funding deportations of illegal migrants.
The prior legislation also tackled problems with far-left and Roma squatters as well as opening up the possibility for the Italian state to revoke the citizenship of those who have engaged in terrorist activity.