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Italy court scraps house arrest for migrant-hosting mayor of Riace

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Rome (dpa) - The suspended mayor of a southern Italian town famous for opening its doors to migrants should no longer be under house arrest, an Italian appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Domenico Lucano has won international plaudits for repopulating the town of Riace, in the region of Calabria, with hundreds of migrants who were also trained to learn local artisan crafts.

He was placed under house arrest two weeks ago on charges of abetting illegal immigration and breaking public procurement rules in the awarding of municipal contracts. The penalties resulted in his suspension as mayor.

According to the ANSA news agency, judges in Reggio Calabria accepted an appeal from Lucano against his house arrest, but ordered him to move his residence out of Riace.

The mayor remains a suspect in a criminal investigation in which he stands accused of organizing fake marriages and granting papers to failed asylum seekers with no right to stay in Italy.

Upon his arrest, police released a statement indicating that Lucano was wiretapped describing himself as "an outlaw" who was out to circumvent "these stupid laws" on immigration.

Earlier Tuesday, Lucano said he intended to continue hosting migrants in his town, regardless of government and court decisions.

The mayor is also under pressure from far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who on Sunday said migrants hosted in Riace under a government-funded programme would be moved elsewhere.

The decision was taken following a ministry investigation which accused Lucano‘s municipality of mismanagement and not following protocols for migrant-hosting schemes.


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