German migrant rescue captain in hiding

BERLIN (AFP) – The German captain of a migrant rescue vessel, Carola Rackete, has gone into hiding following numerous threats, her charity Sea-Watch said yesterday, a day after her release from Italian custody.

An Italian judge on Tuesday released Sea-Watch 3 captain Rackete, three days after her arrest for docking with 40 migrants aboard her ship in defiance of an Italian ban.

Sea-Watch spokesman Ruben Neugebauer told AFP that “she is in a secret place because of the numerous threats”.

Rackete, 31, was arrested after hitting a police speedboat while entering the port of the southern island of Lampedusa last Saturday in her vessel, which had been banned from docking by Italian authorities.

 She has defended her actions, saying she was compelled to avert a human tragedy and bring the migrants ashore after more than two weeks at sea. Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who has taken a hard line against migrants, reacted furiously and pledged to expel Rackete, whom he labelled a “danger to national security”.

The migrants were allowed to disembark at Lampedusa and taken to a reception centre, as they prepared to travel on to several other European Union (EU) member states which have agreed to take them in.