Commentary. Because of this prosecution, the rescues of an incalculable number of migrants have been prevented, shipwrecked and drowned in the Mediterranean.

Iuventa crew acquitted, but the shame will last forever

No such crime has been committed: the most definitive acquittal verdict possible.

At the same time, it should be read as a judgment of condemnation against those who decided to pursue a case against the crew of the Iuventa – and, even more so, against the very idea of migrant rescue at sea – on no basis whatsoever.

It was one accusation among many intended to close the circle of repression and justify its morality by supposedly identifying criminal dealings involving false ethical pretenses by the rescuers, actually involved in the dirty business of the traffickers.

The Italian state, under multiple successive governments from different parts of the political spectrum, ran the risk of being shamefully exposed, in the long run, for its treatment of migrants that moved from outrage to outrage, with the seizure of rescue ships and their human cargo left to rot outside of ports, the rejections of migrants, their detention in the prison camps of the identification centers, their return into the hands of the Libyan torturers, and, finally – just to add to the suffering – the absurd assignment of safe ports as far away as possible from the rescue zone.

All this disgrace needed to be justified by revealing to everyone the supposed ties between rescuers and traffickers, a thesis that the judiciary authorities had to find ways to back up, particularly those in Trapani with territorial jurisdiction over Lampedusa.

Of course, no such crime has been committed. But the seized Iuventa is out of commission, the defendants have spent all of seven years under the heavy weight of charges that could bring very high penalties, and, above all, the rescues of an incalculable number of migrants have been prevented, shipwrecked and drowned in the Mediterranean, which has become an enormous cemetery.

And we are still without hope. This acquittal, while a consolation for us, will not bring the ruling right wing to its senses. Just as the European Parliament elections are approaching, against the backdrop of the European context, it has made its repression of migrants even worse.

I fear there will be more Iuventas to come.

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