ROME — The Italian Senate voted by a large margin Wednesday to allow the prosecution of right-wing opposition leader Matteo Salvini for making 131 rescued migrants remain on a coast guard vessel for days when he was Italy’s interior minister.
Salvini’s fellow senators let stand a Senate commission’s vote to lift his immunity as a lawmaker so Italy’s Tribunal of Ministers can decide if he effectively held the migrants hostage last summer.
The Senate vote fell 84 short of the number needed to overturn its commission’s decision on Salvini’s immunity last month. Salvini insisted before the vote that he would be proud to stand trial for defending Italy’s borders, but senators from his antimigrant League skipped the vote.
Once the tally was announced, he compared himself to President Trump, who calls himself a victim of political enemies on the left.
As interior minister, Salvini launched a crackdown on unauthorized migration, blaming migrants for crime and other problems. His policies brought his euroskeptic League party support at home and criticism abroad.