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 and is escorted to a car, 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.

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