German Judge Attacks Salvini for Mocking Photo of Open Borders NGO Activist

Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini gestures at the end of a press conference in the Lega headquarters in northern Milan following the results of the European parliamentary elections, on May 27, 2019. - Matteo Salvini's anti-migrant League party won the most votes on May 26 in …

A judge in Germany has ordered populist Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini to remove a photograph of a pro-migration NGO activist or face a hefty fine.

The photo of Sören Moje, a member of the crew of a ship belonging to the NGO Mission Lifeline, was published on Twitter by Salvini last year after the group had labelled Salvini a “fascist”, Italian newspaper Il Giornale reports.

“This gentleman is in the crew of the ship of the German NGO that, waiting to load immigrants, calls me the ‘fascist’ … Reassuringly I would say!” Salvini said.

The photo was taken by journalist Friedhold Ulonska before it was then published on the Mission Lifeline website and then published on Twitter by Salvini.

The judge in the case has ordered Salvini to delete the tweet and the picture stating that the Italian League leader had violated the copyright of the image owner. If he does not remove the image, Salvini could face a fine of up to 250,000 euros and even a potential prison term of up to six months.

“Matteo Salvini uses photographic material of rescue missions at sea, images taken by me, as a tool of his incitement against us,” Friedhold Ulonska, who brought the complaint, said.

“He didn’t ask me if he was allowed. Like everyone else, Matteo Salvini must respect the law. If he does not do so, as in this case, we should like to remind him of the limits of his actions with all constitutional means,” he added.

Mission Lifeline are no strangers to controversy themselves, having called on German citizens to marry illegal migrants and asylum seekers in order to help them remain in Europe earlier this year.

“You’re not married yet? Maybe you could fall in love with someone who doesn’t have the right to stay here? Could happen, right? Stay open,” the group said on Twitter.

In 2017, the Saxony prosecutor’s office also announced the NGO was under investigation for people-trafficking.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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