The migrants stopped from entering Italy after allegedly threatening to kill the boat crew that rescued them in the Mediterranean have been allowed to disembark.
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini had refused to let the 67 migrants onto Italian soil until there was clarity over whether any of them had made threats of violence against sailors on a tugboat that picked them up over the weekend.
However, after an intervention by President Sergio Mattarella, the migrants, including women and children, were allowed to disembark in Sicily late last night.
Migrants are escorted off the Coast Guard’s ship ‘Diciotti’ that carried 67 migrants who were taken in from ‘Vos Thalassa’ in the Mediterranean in Trapani, Sicily
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini had refused to let the 67 migrants disembark after allegations that some of them had threatened to kill the crew on the commercial tugboat that first picked them up in the Mediterranean
The migrants had initially been picked up by an Italian commercial tug boat called the Vos Thalassa over the weekend.
According to Italian media, Vos Thalassa’s crew locked themselves in the control room and called for help after two migrants with mobile phones and GPS realised that the boat was heading back towards Libya, and threatened them.
‘They encircled them, pushed them, making the gesture of cutting their throats,’ Christopher Savoye, legal affairs official of the Vroon Offshore Service that owns the Vos Thalassa, told the shipping news site The Meditelegraph.
The migrants were subsequently transferred to a coast guard ship called the Diciotti and docked in Trapani, western Sicily.
Yesterday, Salvini said the migrants would not be allowed to disembark until prosecutors determine whether the migrants actually did make the threats, o