The Latest: Malta lets rescue ship captain visit elderly mom

The Latest on the influx of migrants into Europe (all times local):

4:35 p.m.

A magistrate in Malta is allowing the captain of an impounded migrant rescue ship to visit his 93-year-old mother in Germany.

Claus Peter Reisch has been charged with entering Maltese waters on the MV Lifeline without permission and with vessel registration irregularities.

On Wednesday, Magistrate Joe Mifsud, who's hearing the case, gave Reisch travel permission.

Two other rescue ships run by German aid groups are also blocked in Malta, as the island nation cracks down on the arrival of trafficked migrants.

The Lifeline was stranded at sea with 234 migrants when Italy and Malta refused docking. Eventually, Maltese authorities allowed it to dock after Italy and seven other countries agreed to accept some of the asylum-seekers, in addition to Malta.

No date has been set for a ruling in Reisch's case.


4:10 p.m.

Spain's Supreme Court has found the Spanish state guilty of failing to take in its full allocation of asylum-seeking refugees from Greece and Italy, as stipulated by the European Union.

The court said in a ruling Wednesday that while Spain told the European Council it would accept almost 19,500 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy between 2015 and 2017, took in just 2,500.

The court ruled that Spain failed to heed mandatory European directives, though it accepted that a lack of European coordination amid a wave of tens of thousands of refugee arrivals made the task difficult.

The court handed down no punishment. However, it instructed authorities to press ahead with efforts to admit and settle asylum seekers.


2:40 p.m.

Italy's interior minister has likened to hijackers some 60 rescued migrants refusing attempts to return them to Libya.

Matteo Salvini told reporters Wednesday that the migrants, who allegedly threatened the crew of a tugboat which rescued them earlier in the week in waters off Libya, were "criminals," and "not refugees, who hijacked a ship with violence."

He said they would "end up for some time in jail and then be brought back to their countries."

The migrants were transferred to an Italian coast guard ship from the tug, which had been in the area assisting an oil rig. The coast guard vessel was heading Wednesday to a Sicilian port.

Salvini, who leads the anti-migrant League party, is determined to stop most rescued migrants from reaching Italy.