Immigration: Italy taken to task for imprisoning aliens
29 April 2011
The "European Court of Justice rules that illegal immigration is not a crime," headlines La Repubblica. In its judgement on an appeal filed by Algerian Hassan El Dridi, the court ruled that a law introduced by the Italian government in 2009, which allows illegal immigrants to be sentenced to up to four years in prison if they refuse to leave the country, does not comply with European legislation. In particular, explains the Roman daily, it fails to respect the terms of the 2008 directive, which aims to establish “an effective removal and repatriation policy, based on common standards, for persons to be returned in a humane manner and with full respect for their fundamental rights and dignity." In response, the Italian Minister of the Interior said "there are other European countries that have made illegal immigration a crime and have not been censured for this.” He also argued that the judgement will undermine the fight against illegal immigration, which "is not just a problem for Italy, but for all of Europe."