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Italian Senate Blocks Kidnapping Investigation Into Salvini

Five Star Movement lawmakers overcame their reservations about impeding investigations into politicians and on Tuesday voted to block an investigation into Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini - the leader of M5S's coalition partner - over allegations that he "kidnapped" 177 undocumented migrants last summer when he refused to let them disembark from a ship in a Sicilian port for five days.

Salvini

The Senate's Immunity Committee would have needed to lift Salvini's immunity for the investigation to proceed. Instead, it voted to back immunity for Salvini. The vote resolves what had become a serious source of tension between the two coalition partners, even prompting some of Salvini's allies to publicly push their leader to call for fresh elections to try and oust M5S and take advantage of the League's rising popularity.

The investigation into Salvini was initiated in August by a Sicilian prosecutor. Salvini has publicly mocked the probe, saying it would be "an honor" to go to prison for defending Italy's borders.

"If he wants to interrogate me or even arrest me because I defend the borders and security of my country, I’m proud...Being investigated for defending the rights of Italians is

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