FRANCE and Italy have became embroiled in a bitter diplomatic row after a French border patrol ‘illegally’ entered an Italian clinic run by a non-governmental organisation that treats migrants trying to cross the Alps.
Italian officials say French border police went into a migrant clinic “without permission,” before forcing an illegal immigrant suspected of being a drug dealer to undergo a urine test.
The Italian foreign ministry, which has since summoned the French ambassador, Christian Masset, for an explanation, said in a statement that Rome firmly condemned the “unacceptable” behaviour of the French customs agents, who have been accused of violating Italian territory.
The NGO Rainbow for Africa said that a French border patrol brought a paperless Nigerian migrant they’d arrested on a high-speed TGV train from Paris to Milan to the railway station of the Italian border town of Bardonecchia on Friday night.
The NGO said the French officers entered the clinic, which is located in the train station, without permission and conducted a urine test on the migrant because they suspected him of being a drug smuggler. The man tested negative for drugs.
Italian authorities said that France had been warned last month that the station was no longer accessible for its police because it had been converted into a migrant clinic and was being used for humanitarian purposes.
French customs officials, for their part, said that they had the migrant’s written consent for the urine test and that the NGO had allowed them to use the clinic for it.