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.

Saviano, 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 leader, 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, Matteo Salvini, who as interior minister introduced a decree imposing fines of up to €50,000 on NGO rescue boats bringing people to Italy, 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.

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