Sicily threatens to sue government over migrant expulsion order
Rome, Aug. 24, (dpa/GNA) – Sicily President Nello Musumeci threatened Monday to take legal action against the Italian government if his order to clear the island of migrants is not executed.
Musumeci has ordered all Sicilian migrant reception centres to be closed, and their residents transferred out of Sicily, by midnight on Monday, but the Interior Ministry has called the decree inapplicable.
« If the entities called to execute the decree should not do it … we would only have one option, to turn to the courts, » Musumeci said in a press conference.
« We would be facing a clear omission [of duty] with all that that a clear omission entails in an epidemic situation, » the right-wing politician added.
However, Musumeci said his administration would also be ready to give « two, three, eight days » more to the central government if it accepted to comply with his region’s demands.
In a Monday statement, the Interior Ministry said it « has always been committed to reduce the impact of the strong migration pressure on Sicily, » which it blamed on a jump in arrivals from Tunisia.
It said some 3,500 migrants had been moved out of Sicily since July, and stressed that since August, all incoming sea migrants have been tested for the novel coronavirus.
Musumeci justified his decree on health grounds, saying that overcrowded migrant reception centres are a contagion risk for the novel coronavirus.
The president also said Sicily recorded 7,067 sea migrant arrivals in July and more than 3,000 in the first half of August, compared to 1,088 and 1,268 in July and August 2019.