Italy's Meloni says no desire to drop Saviano lawsuit - paper

MILAN, Nov 29 (Reuters) - (Note language in paragraph 2 that readers may find offensive)

Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has no intention of dropping her lawsuit against anti-mafia author Roberto Saviano, she told Corriere della Sera in an interview published on Tuesday.

Saviano, a leading human rights campaigner, went on trial for libel earlier this month for calling Meloni a "bastard".

Her lawyer suggested at the time she may consider dropping the lawsuit - as she has been urged to by the PEN International writers' association.

If convicted, he could face up to three years' imprisonment, although under Italy's legal system a fine of at least about 500 euros ($520) or a suspended sentence are more likely.

Meloni launched her suit against Saviano following a December 2020 TV interview in which he lambasted her and fellow right-wing leader Matteo Salvini over their attacks on migrant rescue NGOs.

The premier told Corriere della Sera there was no reason she would withdraw the lawsuit now that she was the head of government, saying "everything will be treated impartially given the separation of powers".

"But I also think that a certain type of left should not consider itself above the law," she added.

The trial has been adjourned to Dec. 12.

Reporting by Agnieszka Flak, Editing by William Maclean

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