Italian officials last week arrested a mayor on charges of supporting illegal immigration, the latest move in the populist government’s migration crackdown.
Italy’s financial police placed Domenico Lucano, mayor of the small Calabrian town of Riace, under house arrest while they investigate reports he spent a half million euros of public funds to house refugees and asylum seekers. Authorities also accused him of falsifying documents to allow immigrants to take over trash disposal contracts and organizing fake marriages to help female immigrants remain in the country.
Officials from Riace, a town of fewer than 2,000 residents, offered migrants free housing in abandoned homes, provided job training, and gave migrants micro-credit to launch businesses. Fortune magazine named Lucano one of the world’s 50 greatest leaders in 2016 for his work integrating migrants.
Italy’s new populist government has taken a tough stance against migration, including tightening its immigration laws and closing its ports to migrant rescue ships. Following Lucano’s arrest, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini praised the move. “What will all the do-gooders who want to fill Italy with immigrants say now,” he wrote in a Twitter post. —O.O.
India deported seven Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar, also known as Burma, the first deportations since a 2017 Indian government order to send back illegal immigrants.
India had detained the seven Rohingya men in jail in the northeast state of Assam since 2012, when they illegally entered the country. Authorities handed over the men to Myanmar officials at a border post in the town of Moreh in Manipur state on Thursday. Defense attorney Prashant Bhushan had argued the Indian government should treat the men as refugees and not illegal immigrants.
Following a 2017 crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, more than 750,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh. Some 40,000 others are in India, with only 15,000 of them registered with the United Nations.
In a statement, Amnesty International condemned the deportation, noting the “seven men are at grave risk of being subjected to serious human rights violations by the Myanmar government.” —O.O.
Government officials in Sudan recently returned several confiscated church properties and released a shipment of Bibles held in port for six years.
Authorities in September cleared a shipment of Arabic Bibles and sent it to the country’s capital, Khartoum, World Watch Monitor reported. Church leaders had asked for years for the shipment amid a nationwide Bible shortage.
World Watch Monitor also reported that officials in late September returned ownership of 19 Sudanese Church of Christ properties two years after government seizure. In August, a Sudanese court surprisingly ruled against the government and ordered the properties be returned to the church body.
Sudan is the fourth most difficult country in the world for Christians, according to Open Doors. —Julia A. Seymour