The trial begins in Rome against the Italian writer Roberto Saviano, accused of defamation by the now Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, whom he called “bastard” for his anti-immigration stances.
The defendant, who has received the support of numerous intellectuals and journalists, considers that this trial is an attempt against freedom of expression. In an interview with Efe, Saviano explains that “the right of every intellectual is to use even fierce and strong words against power, it is an essential right“.
The writer has been denounced for defamation by the leader of the far-right formation Brothers from Italy, who was appointed prime minister on October 22. The confrontation took place on December 7, 2020, when Saviano, in a television program, denounced an alleged political use that the ultra-right made of the immigration phenomenon in the central Mediterranean.
“You will have remembered all the garbage thrown against the NGOs, which they call ‘taxis of the sea’ or ‘cruise ships’. I only get to say: bastards. To Meloni and Salvini, you bastards, how can you?” she said onscreen.
The journalist and writer will not only face Meloni in the judicial process, but also two other members of the Government: the ultra-rightist SalviniVice President and Minister of Infrastructures, and the head of Culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano.
Saviano has frequently lashed out at Salvini and his anti-immigration policy, and has even called him “minister of the Mala Vita”a term used in Italy to refer to the mafia. The first hearing of this other trial will begin on February 1, 2023.