Italian marines case: Italian Ambassador and Special Envoy reach SC
Italian Ambassador to India Daniele Mancini and Special Envoy of the Italian government Staffan De Mistura on Monday arrived at the Supreme Court to attend the hearing of the case involving two Italian marines accused of killing fishermen off the Kerala coast, an incident that has soured otherwise good relations between New Delhi and Rome.
Rome harshly criticised an Indian decision to try the accused Italian marines under an anti-piracy and anti-terrorism act.
Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, part of a military security team protecting a cargo ship off the coast of Kerala, say they thought the fishermen were pirates and fired shots to warn them off in February 2012.
The case has become a sensitive political issue in both countries. In India, supporters of harsh penalties for the marines have marched on the streets, while in Rome the lights illuminating the Colosseum were turned off last year in a protest demanding the two be allowed to return home.
On Friday, Attorney General said the marines would be tried under an anti-piracy and anti-terrorism act that provides for capital punishment, but that death sentences would be excluded as a possible sentence.
Italy's justice minister responded by saying the Rome government would fight the use of the law in all ways possible.
Charges have yet to be filed against the two, partly due to confusion as to what law the men should be prosecuted under. They are on bail but cannot leave India.
The Italian government has said that the shooting took place in international waters and that the marines should be tried at home. The Indian government says the marines killed unarmed fishermen on the outer edges of its territorial waters.
(Posted on 10-02-2014)
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