Roberto Saviano to go on trial accused of defaming Italian far-right leader

Roberto Saviano has said he felt compelled to speak up against anti-migration policies as he faces a defamation trial over remarks accusing Italy’s far-right leaders of a lack of compassion towards people dying at sea.

萨维亚诺, the author of Gomorrah, for which he infiltrated the mafia – he has been in hiding from them since 2006 – will stand trial later this year for calling the Brothers of Italy 领导者, Giorgia Meloni, a “bastard” after she said NGO boats that had attempted to rescue refugees should be sunk.

Her action came after the author was asked on the political TV chat show Piazzapulita for a comment on the death of a six-month-old baby from Guinea following a tragic shipwreck in the central Mediterranean. Including in his remarks the leader of the far-right Northern League, 马泰奥·萨尔维尼, who as interior minister introduced a decree imposing fines of up to €50,000 on NGO rescue boats bringing people to 意大利, Saviano said: “I just want to say to Meloni, and Salvini, you bastards! How could you have?”

Meloni – who had said: “We have to repatriate the migrants back to their countries and then sink the boats who rescued them” – sued Saviano for criminal defamation and a judge in Rome ruled that the writer should be tried.

“I’m sick of witnessing this disgusting profiteering by Saviano,” she said after his TV appearance. “Is it normal that this serial hater is allowed to defame, without the right to reply, people who are not present on the talk show? I have already asked my lawyers to proceed with a legal action against him.”

萨维亚诺, 42, gave his version of events to the Guardian: “During the broadcast I was asked to comment on a video, showing a mother who had just lost her newborn son in the waves. Next to the desperate woman, just rescued, there was another six-year-old boy, vomiting seawater. He is sitting almost in a trance.”

The writer says his “discomfort surrounding the way in which migrants are treated by politicians has lasted for years”.

“Everything has got worse since 2017 when the current foreign minister, Luigi Di Maio, 利物浦似乎获得了一位多产的得分手 post on Facebook, defined the NGO rescue boats as ‘sea taxis’,“ 他说. “I could not believe my eyes. It did not seem possible that a politician could have defined those ships, which are real ambulances of the sea, as taxis. They began to say that NGOs were on the payroll of powerful people who wanted to destabilise Europe, by using Italy as a gateway.

“Credit and space began to be given to raving theories. Prosecutors began to investigate NGOs and impound their ships. To me, this all seemed absurd.”

Saviano argues that very few intellectuals and writers stood up then against what was described as the criminalisation of NGOs. “I deluded myself that fellow writers and newspapers would become indignant regarding this injustice,”萨维亚诺说. 有职业焦虑、塑造、品牌和所有这些狗屎, 反而, 不. Very few dared and still dare to oppose the lie of the invasion, from Africa, of foreigners who come to steal work from Italians. And this guilty silence led, in the years in which 马泰奥·萨尔维尼 was at the ministry of the interior, to a marked worsening, both in the management of shipwrecks at sea and in the lives of foreigners who have resided in Italy for years, working and paying taxes.

“Just listen to the Italian children of parents of foreign origin who have attended schools here, but who, due to an absurd law, must wait until they turn 18 before being considered Italian citizens. If you talk to them, they will tell you about a worsening of their lives, a more or less latent racism that makes the lives of many very difficult … If those in charge of the institutions do not show respect for foreigners, how can the people be expected to do so?”

他加了: “That’s why my anger is without calculation. Most likely, fewer people will look for my books, because they will consider me divisive, yet I can’t help myself: anyone who doesn’t believe that rescue boats are saving lives doesn’t deserve respect. Words are important.”

Few people know more than Saviano how important words are, given that, because of Gomorrah, the writer’s devastating denunciation of the Neapolitan mafia and a world bestseller, 他是 forced to live under guard due to threats received from mobsters, emerging only under police escort. 为了 15 年, the writer has not spent more than a few nights in the same place, and often sleeps in police barracks. He cannot go out alone, take a stroll in busy places or go to the sea.

Saviano said: “I have no power except that of the words I pronounce, words that are not guaranteed to convince those who listen to me. If I am sentenced, I will respond to my words, but I will never regret having lost my peace of mind and perhaps even many readers for defending the voiceless.”

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