The journalists Nello Scavo of Avvenire and the freelancer Nancy Porsia were threatened by the former head of the Libyan coast guard mysteriously present in Sicily.
Since Friday 18th October 2019, the journalist Nello Scavo, who lives in Como and works in Milan at the editorial offices of the daily Avvenire, is under police protection, due to threats from the Libyan And al Rahman al-Milad , former head of the Libyan coast guard, known as Commander Bija, and accused of being a human trafficker on the sea route of immigration. .
In 2018, the United Nations Security Council imposed a ban on a list of persons including him from leaving the country as they were considered responsible for trafficking in human beings. It also froze his assets.
The freelance journalist Nancy Porsia was also put under protection, for the same reason. In recent days it has been confirmed that 22 journalists are under police protection in Italy due to threats.
A few days before, the Avvenire journalist had revealed, exclusively, with a photograph published in his newspaper, that Bija, in 2017, had participated with an official Libyan delegation in some meetings at the reception centre for immigrants in Mineo (Catania ). Other journalists had already spoken about the ambiguous role of And al Rahman al-Milad in 2017,but first of all Nancy Porsia who was in Libya at the time.
But no one had documented his presence in Sicily with an official delegation.
The Avvenire journalist’s scoop was sensational also abroad.
In the following days, to investigate the matter further, Nello Scavo made further investigations. On Tuesday, October 14th he found a way to contact the Libyan and exchange various messages with him through social media and on the phone. In these exchanges And al Rahman al-Milad used threatening expressions against the journalist and his colleague Nancy Porsia.
Whilst still reflecting on the appropriateness of reporting the threats, Nello Scavo received a visit from police officers who informed him that they had assessed his risk profile and decided to provide him with immediate effect, with personal police protection pending more in-depth assessments. From that moment the journalist was accompanied by police officers in every move. Two days later, he was told on Friday 18th October that he would be was given a police escort. He is now travels in a police car with two officers on board.
“I am grateful to the police who, in this situation, immediately took care of my safety. I am glad to see that security needs do not prevent me from continuing my family life or my journalistic activity. Of course, to consult confidential sources for me is now more difficult, but not impossible: technology helps me. I will continue to do my job under these conditions and when those who deem that I no longer need to have a police escort, I will rejoice “.
The Deputy Interior Minister, Vito Crimi, had raised the alarm by speaking of “intolerable threats”, while the editorial committee of Avvenire in renewing its solidarity and that of the whole editorial staff, reiterated that: “We will continue to tell what happens without fear or censure “.
The director of Avvenire, Marco Tarquinio commented: “I have great concern but also an awareness of the importance of the work done by my colleague Nello Scavo and the entire editorial staff of the newspaper”. What matters, he added, is that “the threats suffered by the colleague do not prevail over the need to make information”.