Hollywood actor Richard Gere is set to testify as a witness in an upcoming kidnapping trial in Italy.
Former Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini, now leader of the country’s right-wing league party, has been charged with kidnapping for refusing to allow a ship full of migrants to disembark in the country two years ago. The migrants were stranded off the coast of Sicily for 19 days.
At the time, the “American Gigolo” actor was working in Italy as an activist for the Spanish non-governmental organization Proactiva Open Arms, which provided the migrants with food and medical care on board the ship.
Other witnesses confirmed by the Palermo court on Saturday include Italy’s former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, as well as a number of senior Italian politicians.
“Now tell me how serious is a lawsuit where Richard Gere comes from Hollywood to testify how bad I am,” said Salvini.
Proactiva Open Arms told the court Gere could provide a direct report on conditions aboard the ship, which was stranded 19 days off the Italian island of Lampedusa, before prosecutors ordered the evacuation of the people on board, Reuters reported.