Populist PM Meloni Refuses to Drop Libel Case Against Writer Over ‘Bastard’ Comment

ROME, ITALY, NOVEMBER 10: Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni and NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg hold a joint press conference after their meeting at Chigi Palace governments office in Rome, Italy, on November 10, 2022. (Photo by Riccardo De Luca/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Riccardo De Luca/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has refused to drop a libel case against an Italian writer she claims insulted her and insinuated she was to blame for migrant deaths at sea.

Prime Minister Meloni stated this week that she had no intention of withdrawing a libel complaint against anti-mafia writer Roberto Saviano, who spoke out against Meloni prior to her election as Prime Minister, calling the Brother of Italy (FdI) leader a “bastard” on television in December of 2020.

“I filed the lawsuit when I was the leader of the opposition,” Prime Minister Meloni told Italian media and added, “I did it not because Saviano had criticized me on immigration but because, in a shameful attempt to blame me for the death of a child at sea, he called me a ‘bastard’ on prime time TV,” newspaper Il Giornale reports.

“I do not understand the request to withdraw the complaint because I would now be President of the Council: does it mean that the judiciary will behave differently according to my role, that is, that citizens are not all equal before the law? I believe that everything will be treated with impartiality, given the separation of powers,” Meloni added.

Saviano, described as a human rights campaigner by the news service Reuters, could face up to three years in prison or a fine of around 500 euros, although the news service claims a suspended sentence is more likely if he is found guilty in the case.

Tackling illegal immigration in the Mediterranean has been a priority for the Meloni coalition government, particularly the activities of migrant taxi NGOs, which have collectively brought at least 10,000 migrants to Italy this year.

A poll released in early November reported that nearly two-thirds of Italians support Meloni’s tough immigration stance and policies to reduce the number of illegals arriving in the country.

So far this year, according to statistics from the United Nations Refugee Agency UNHCR, over 94,000 migrants have entered Italy illegally by sea, the largest number since 2017.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com.

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