Free Mimmo: Charges against Italian mayor for supporting refugees must be dropped

DiEM25 stands in solidarity with the former mayor of Riace, Mimmo Lucano, who is facing 13 years in prison for helping refugees 

DiEM25 is calling for the charges against Domenico ‘Mimmo’ Lucano to be dropped, with the former mayor of Riace, Italy, facing a 13-year prison sentence for assisting and welcoming refugees to his town.

Lucano was the mayor of Riace from 2004 to 2018, where he gained global acclaim for resettling hundreds of migrant families and revitalising the dwindling town.

His efforts saw him named runner-up in the 2010 World Mayor competition, while also featuring in Fortune’s 2016 list of greatest world leaders as well as being awarded the Dresden Peace Prize.

However, in 2018, Lucano found himself the target of far-right politician Matteo Salvini, who became interior minister.

Salvini placed Lucano under house arrest and accused him of “colonising Italy with migrants” before the courts handed ‘Mimmo’ a shocking 13-year prison sentence in September of last year.

Lucano is not going down without a fight and nor is he alone, with DiEM25 firmly supporting him in his struggle for justice.

DiEM25 co-founder Yanis Varoufakis condemned the treatment that Lucano is facing and pointed out the hypocrisy of the sentence.

“Our television screens are full of sad pictures of refugees fleeing from the war zone in Ukraine and being welcomed in the rest of Europe. The way we treat refugees is indicative of our humanity,” Varoufakis said.

“Mimmo Lucano is being dragged through the courts and fined ridiculous sums of money for doing that which we celebrate when it comes to Ukrainians. Double standards are the poison of the soul.”

Joining the alliance in support of Lucano alongside DiEM25 is the Progressive International, who released a statement calling for his release.

“We believe that the Riace model is an inspiration for the world. When our governments built fortresses to keep migrants out, you welcomed them in,” the statement reads.

“When local criminals and global corporations conspired to exploit their lack of legal protections, you built a global village and a Città Futura – a city of the future – where all residents could learn trades and find shelter.

“We are unequivocal: Your 13-year sentence is both a travesty of justice and a blatant violation of the common principles of freedom, democracy, equality, peace and stability that the European Union claims to uphold.”

Help our cause

We are counting on public support to apply pressure on the Italian government to drop the charges against Mimmo Lucano and the 26 others indicted in his case.

Join the likes of Noam Chomsky and Ada Colau in calling for an end to the case against the former Riace mayor, via the link here.

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