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Italy should release migrant rescue captain: Germany

Published: Updated:

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called on Monday for Italy to release the captain of a migrant rescue ship detained for allegedly hitting a police boat while docking at Lampedusa with 40 people on board.

“In our view the end of due judicial process can only result in the release of Carola Rackete,” a German national, Maas said.

“I will again make this clear to Italy,” he said.

Sea-Watch 3 skipper Carola Rackete was arrested at the weekend after a two-week standoff at sea and faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted.

Her vessel, which had been banned from docking by the Italian authorities, knocked a police speedboat while entering the port on Saturday.

The 31-year-old German captain was accused of putting the speedboat and the safety of its occupants at risk.

She was expected to appear in court in the Sicilian city of Agrigento at 1330 GMT to face charges of abetting illegal immigration and forcing her way past the police boat.

Maas tweeted that the case pointed to a fundamental problem with how the European Union dealt with migrants, whom member states had committed to taking in.

“The haggling about the distribution of asylum seekers is undignified and needs to end,” he said.