Former Interior minister Matteo Salvini leaves the Senate prior to a vote on lifting his immunity for a trial on Aug 2019 Open…
Former Interior minister Matteo Salvini leaves the Senate prior to a vote on lifting his immunity for a trial in Rome, July 30, 2020.

The Italian Senate has voted to lift right-wing Senator Matteo Salvini’s immunity from prosecution, related to his decision last August to not allow 164 migrants to get off a ship in Sicily.

Thursday’s vote may clear the way for potential charges against the former interior minister who, during his 14 months in that position, repeatedly denied port entry to ships carrying rescued migrants at sea.

Salvini’s policy resulted in several standoffs, forcing ships to remain at sea for weeks before European countries would allow entry to their ports or Italian courts ordered disembarking.

For the case from last August, Salvini refused access to the rescue ship Open Arms for three weeks before it was allowed to enter a port on the Italian island of Lampedusa.