Rome (AP) — The Latest on migration issues in Europe (all times local):
Germany's foreign minister says the captain of a migrant rescue ship in Italian custody should be released because saving lives is a humanitarian act, not criminal.
Heiko Maas told reporters Monday he'd been in contact with Italian authorities to press the case that it is "not acceptable" to criminalize the rescue of migrants in the Mediterranean.
German citizen Carola Rackete has been in custody since Saturday when she defied Italy's anti-migrant interior minister, Matteo Salvini, and port authorities by steering her Sea-Watch 3 ship to Lampedusa's dock so the 40 migrants the ship rescued on June 12 could disembark.
Maas says "sea rescue is no crime, it is a humanitarian act, and therefore anything that does not lead to (her) release would cause considerable irritation."
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The German captain of a humanitarian migrant rescue ship is being taken in an Italian border police motorboat to a court hearing on whether she stays under house arrest.
Italian state radio said Carola Rackete was being escorted Monday from the tiny island of Lampedusa to a port in Sicily, where she will be transferred to a courtroom in the town of Agrigento.
A judge will question her in the presence of her lawyers and prosecutors.
On Saturday, Rackete's defied Italy's anti-migrant interior minister, Matteo Salvini, and port authorities, by steering Sea-Watch 3 to Lampedusa's dock so 40 migrants, which the ship rescued on June 12, could disembark.
Prosecutors allege she deliberately rammed a border police boat blocking her path. Rackete's lawyers say she didn't intend to harm anyone.
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